Abuja — The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has set conditions for haulage of meat in and around the Federal Capital City, Area Councils and Satellite towns.
The administration under the new conditions, banned the use of rickety vehicles and motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, for haulage of meat in Abuja as it rolled a new policy that on no account should haulage of meat be exposed in an untidy manner.
Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, made this known while launching the first phase of the FCT Meat haulage Programme at Karu Abattoir in Karu, Abuja.
The minister stated that the tricycle meat vans were to be used to convey meat to distances not more than 3km from the slaughter points, while the four wheel meat vans would serve for meat haulage to longer distances.
"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," Akinjide said.
The FCTA, she noted, viewed with disdain the existing way of meat transportation in rickety vehicles and motorcycles.
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 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.
The minister directed the Nigeria Police, NAFDAC, Abuja Environmental Protection Board, Federal Road Safety Corps and Directorate of Road Traffic Services to enforce the new meat haulage regulations of the FCT.
She added, "The effective enforcement of these regulations is an important thrust in ensuring best practices in meat handling."
She disclosed that the FCT Administration had concluded arrangements with a private investor to build and operate an ultra modern abattoir in Tungan Maje.
She noted that the Abattoir would serve the Federal Capital City and also introduce meat processing and packaging in the territory.
In her welcome address read by the Director of Admin and Finance, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr. John Obiahu, Madayi explained that the FCT Meat haulage Programme was being operated under a public private partnership arrangement between the Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat and Lead Automobile Company Limited.
"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," Madayi said.
She blamed the lack of alternative means of meat transportation for the shortcoming in addressing early the meat haulage challenge.