The Lagos State Government yesterday 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 contained in a statement signed by Mr Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, Asst. Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
According to the statement, 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 “closure of the ponmo section and dislodgment of the processors became necessary because of the health hazards inherent in the unhealthy processing of ponmo. “The ponmo processors use heaps of burning tyres, thereby, emitting thick toxic smoke into the air endangering residents of the adjoining neighbourhood.
“This bonfire emits a thick toxic smoke which spreads from within the complex to adjoining neighbourhoods, endangering the lives including those of the processors themselves.’’
“I wish to make it clear that the use of tyres for cow skin processing was reported to the State government sometime ago and was dealt with.
“The return to this unhygienic method of processing in the complex leaves much to be desired and this is why the state government has closed the ponmo section of the complex,” he said. He noted that the health effects of burning tyres alone were enormous let alone using them to process human food.
Suarau said that the state government would not condone any act of illegality and harmful health practices in any of the abattoirs in the State.
“To this end, the state government has deployed a number of veterinary officers; animal workers to abattoirs to ensure that set standard for animal slaughtering and processing are adhere to.