Lagos State Government has reportedly shut down and dislodged the cow skin (popularly known as ponmo) processing section of the Oko-Oba abattoir and Lairage Complex in Agege.
This is according to a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Tunbosun Ogunbanwo.
He revealed that the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Toyin Suarau, led a team from the ministry in the company of men from the Lagos State Task Force to shut down the cow skin section of the abattoir.
Suarau said “the closure of the ponmo section and dislodgment of the processors became necessary because of the health hazards inherent in the unhealthy processing of ponmo.
He explained that the ponmo processors use heaps of burning tyres, thereby, emitting thick toxic smoke into the air endangering residents of the adjoining neighbourhood.
He added that the bonfire emits a thick toxic smoke which spreads from within the complex to adjoining neighbourhoods, endangering the lives including those of the processors themselves.
The commissioner however emphasised that the toxic smoke and unhygienic way of processing the cow skin was harmful to human health, stressing that the use of tyres for cow skin processing was reported to the State government sometime ago and was dealt with.
He noted that the return to this unhygienic method of processing ponmo in the complex leaves much to be desired and this is why the state government has closed the ponmo section of the complex stating that the health effects of burning tyres alone were enormous let alone using them to process human food.
According to the commissioner, burning tyres release a toxic soup with hundreds of the different toxic pollutants and small particles. He said such pollutants settle deep in the lungs while airborne emissions from open tire fires presented serious impact to health and the environment.
Reports say the state government has deployed a number of veterinary officers and animal workers to abattoirs to ensure that set standard for animal slaughtering and processing are adhere to. The state government has also vowed to continue to monitor abattoirs and slaughter slabs warning that it would not hesitate to close down abattoirs and slaughter slabs that were unhygienic.
In the same vein, government has vowed to shut down slaughter slabs and abattoirs which are not compliant with the relevant laws governing meat slaughtering in the state.