Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has directed butchers in the eleven Local Governments of Ibadanland to relocate to the multi-billion naira central abattoir located in Amosun village, Akinyele Local Government, Ibadan, latest by the end of April.
The governor gave the directive during a stakeholders’ meeting held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan, on Thursday.
The Butchers Association was led to the meeting by the Southwest Coordinator, Alhaji Biliaminu Elesinmeta; and the State Chairman, Alhaji Azeez Alagunfon.
Apart from its state-of-the-art facilities that would promote the hygiene of the consumers of meat, the governor said that it was also capable of ending the incessant clashes between herders and farmers.
He said that the meeting was specifically called to find a lasting solution to issues surrounding the relocation of butchers in the state capital to the central abattoir and to dispel l the misgivings about the project.
Ajimobi explained that the abattoir was a joint venture among a private establishment, C & E Consulting Ltd, the state government, the 11 LGs and 14 Local Council Development Areas in Ibadanland, as well as the butchers.
He stressed that the private partners would have 50 per cent share; the LGs and LCDAs would have 36 per cent; state government, 10 per cent; while the butchers would have 4 per cent in the ownership structure.
Ajimobi said, “We plan to develop your business through the central abattoir. I told those in charge of the arrangement that the butchers, state government, LGs and LCDAs and our private partners should co-own the facility.
“We are sure that the crisis between the farmers and herdsmen will not arise again, because cows will now be transported here directly instead of our towns and villages where grazing on farmlands had been generating tension.
“I’m also happy that this arrangement will bring about a change in the way butchers handle meat and it will improve the hygiene of the business. The facility is going to have health and sanitary officers that will ensure strict compliance with the basic hygiene of meat handling.
“So effective from May, we must actualize this project. A committee comprising of all stakeholders will start meeting immediately and I shall call for another meeting before the end of this month.”
The governor informed the butchers that each cow butchered at the central abattoir would attract a fee of N3,500, which will cover the use of the facilities at the centre.
He added that the state had entered into an agreement with the private investors to use the facility for 30 years, after which the total ownership would be transferred to the butchers.
Ajimobi appealed for support and understanding of the butchers to comply with the relocation order, on the premise that the facility had suffered neglect for too long due to unresolved issues among the stakeholders.
The leaders of the butchers expressed gratitude to the governor for allaying their fears about the project, and for the support of the government to the association in the area of financial empowerment and donation of a new bus to members.
They told the governor that the earlier misunderstanding between them and the government was caused by lack of adequate information from the immediate past administration in the state on the benefits accruable to the butchers from the central abattoir.
Elesinmeta, however, appealed to the state government to reduce the N3,500 cost attached to each butchered cow in the new facility, while he also solicited logistic support for the members located in different parts of Ibadan .