In a bid to make meat products more hygienic, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has banned the use rickety vehicles and motorcycles to convey meat in the FCT.
The Minister of State for FCT, Mrs. Olajumoke Akinjide, announced the ban at the launch of the FCT Meat haulage Programme at Karu Abattoir in Karu, Abuja.
The FCT Administration recently rolled out a new policy that ensure that meat haulage in the FCT would now be undertaken by meat vans and special purpose-made tricycles with meat haulage compartment.
According to the Minister, the tricycle meat vans would be used to convey meat to distances of not more than 3km from the slaughter points while the four wheel meat vans would serve for meat haulage to longer distances.
Mrs. Akinjide, who was represented by the Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mrs. Olvadi Bema Madayi, said the new policy was part of measures to ensure wholesome meat consumption in the FCT.
“The specifications for acceptable vehicles required for meat transportation are solely Dedicated meat Vans which are being commissioned today and special purpose-made tricycles with meat haulage compartment.
“The internal coverings of the meat compartment of the vehicles are stainless steel sheets. The emphasis on stainless steel coverage is to ensure non-metal contamination of meat. This measure is in line with National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) standards,” Mrs. Akinjide said.
She noted that the exiting method of meat transportation in rickety vehicles and motorcycles across the FCT was a major factor that informed the new policy.
“The importance of consumption of hygiene food in improving the quality of life of the populace cannot be overemphasized. Meat, being a perishable produce, must be handled right or it may endanger the public health,” she stated.
Mrs. Akinjide therefore directed Nigeria Police, NAFDAC, Abuja Environmental Protection Board, Federal Road Safety Corps and Directorate of Road Traffic Services to arrest any person that contravene the new meat haulage law.
She added, “The effective enforcement of these regulations is an important thrust in ensuring best practices in meat handling.”
She disclosed that arrangements have been concluded with a private investor to build and operate an ultra modern abattoir in Tungan Maje.
She said that the Abattoir when completed would serve the Federal Capital City and also introduce meat processing and packaging in the territory.
In her welcome remarks, Director, Administration and Finance, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr. John Obiahu, Madayi explained that the FCT Meat haulage Programme is operated under a Public Private Partnership arrangement between the Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat and Lead Automobile Company Limited.
Madayi said “Lead Automobile Company Limited has been an important key player in the Meat Haulage Policy actualization. The company made a substantial input to the formulation of the policy.”
She blamed the lack of alternative means of meat transportation for the shortcoming in addressing early the meat haulage challenge.