By James Aondoakaa
The popular Wurukum abattoir situated at the bank of the River Benue in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State does not need any description, especially for people residing in Makurdi, the state capital.
The place is accessible because it is located along the River Benue Bridge, along the Timber Shade linking the sand and gravel depot.
The abattoir is ever busy especially in the mornings and evenings. The place is regarded as the number one amongst the biggest in Makurdi.
Apart from commercial meat retailers who throng the place to purchase meat, residents also visit the place to buy meat in both small and large quantities.
Food vendors, particularly managers of restaurants are major customers that patronize the abattoir. Often, organizers of weddings, birthdays, political rallies and other social events visit the place to buy meat in scores.
The abattoir is originally owned by the Benue State government but currently being managed by some private individuals.
When The Voice visited the place, meat sellers and buyers were seen in their large numbers. It was observed that the meat market thrive everyday.
Animals such as cows, pigs, goats and chicken among others are slaughtered and prepared for public consumption. However, health experts were not seen in the place administering that the butchered meat was properly prepared, sanitized and certified according to public health standards.
One worrisome aspect is that the animals are butchered on an unkempt floor. Vehicle tyres are burnt and the fire used to feel-off the hairy parts of the animals.
Another sad aspect observed was the washing process of the meat. The meat is washed in stagnated and water, polluted without been flushed and or changed as at when due.
Due to the animal’s blood that soaked the ground, some places are filled with maggots. Also, the slaughter areas are littered with all manner of disposable items.
Ordinarily, one would expect that there should exist, in the place, a clean slate butchering slap, with clean water to wash the meat after it is slaughtered and certified by health experts before being sold to the public for onward consumption.
Some of the operators of the place alleged in an interview that over the years, the place had been neglected by the concerned authorities as one of the reasons the abattoir is deplorable.
Mr. Gabriel Odah, who spoke on behalf of the Chairman of the abattoir, stated that the slaughter house has been neglected by government, a situation he described as very bad.
“The state government should come to our aid and provide basic amenities as tap water which will be used for washing the meat after been slaughtered.
“Modern storage facilities are also our major challenges as we do not know where and how to preserve the meat whenever we are unable to sell it. Government should also provide accessible road linking the abattoir and Wurukum Roundabout to ease movement of people coming to buy meat.
“The place that is meant for food production and consumption, should be clean and accessible to all consumers who want to come in and patronize without any hindrance,” Odah stated.
A customer, Mrs. Nancy John, who said she visits the abattoir everyday because she operates a food spot, lamented the deplorable state of the place. According to her, she was not happy that the place was in bad condition but she had no have option as, a buying meat there is cheaper.
“I know that this place is not well kept but what can we do? Meat is very cheap here and the place is easily accessible, compared to other abattoirs.
“I can only advise that government should direct attention to resuscitating the bad state of the abattoir because the food we consume must meet modern health standards, if not, it will cause sickness,” she said.
Recall that in 2015 when Governor Samuel Ortom took over as governor of Benue State, he visited the abattoirs in Makurdi and directed that the ministries concerned should work towards changing them. Several years after, the situation has not changed and whether or not the ministries have complied with the directive of the governor, it is not sure.