By Ibrahim Musa Giginyu, Richard P. Ngbokai Lubabatu I. Garba
Kano state abattoir located at Wambai quarters in the metropolis is one of the major m eat processing facilities in the state from where raw meat products are processed and distributed across the 44 Local Government Areas of the state, neighbouring states and countries as well.
The facility which has been in existence since Nigeria’s first republic, is observed to be too small to produce meat to meet the daily consumption of the state’s growing population hence the need for a new ultramodern facility becomes imperative, according to butchers’ association.
When Chronicle visited the abattoir, it was a beehive of activities with thousands of youths going about their respective businesses to earn the living across the value chain of activities in meat processing.
Our reporters gathered that no fewer than 800, 000 people eke out a living in the value chain of activities at Kano abattoir.
Some of the users of the facility who spoke to our reporters lamented over the state of infrastructure in the abattoir, saying the daily increase in the number of users has added undue pressure on its available resources thereby making the place unkempt and below standard for a modern abattoir.
Malam Shehu Mai Tumakai Wambai, a 78 year old butcher at the abattoir told Chronicle that the abattoir began its operation under the Native Authority (NA) adding that it was during General Ibrahim Babangida’s military regime that the abattoir was privatised and it became under the stewardship of a company and the butcher’s association.
Speaking about his experiences in the abattoir over the last 45years, Malam Abdulmumin Alhaji Kwachiri an 85-year-old butcher decried the level of congestion on the available resources at the abattoir, blaming it for the unhygienic nature of the slaughter slaps.
The old man who inherited the trade from his grandparents said in the past only 80 to 100 cows are being slaughtered in the facility and the butchers then operate with high sense of orderliness unlike what is obtained today.
“I have being on this business for 55 years, it is the business I inherited from my parents; my father was a butcher, so also my mother and my father inherited it from my grandfather by that you will notice that it is like a family business to us.
“I was one of the founding users of this facility given the fact that I was part of the butchers that were relocated to this place from the old abattoir. And when we started here everything was good, the facilities were neat and functional because we weren’t many then, but with massive influx into the business much pressure has been exerted on the facility hence the current unkempt state of some portions of the facility,” he said.
The Financial Secretary, Kano State Amalgamated Associations of Butchers, Alhaji Basiru Abdullahi Karah decried lack of support from the government, saying the last time they got assistance from the government was during the administration of former governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso who provided the association with 100 units of tricycles for distribution of meat across the markets in the metropolis.
He said since then no effort has been made to scale up their businesses in line with the best global practices.
He said about two years ago Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje sent in a delegation from the ministry of works to map out an area at the Karah for the construction of state owned abattoir but “after the group of foreign engineers came and took measurements and drew a plan we have not heard anything again and the first phase of the administration is coming to an end.”
He urged the government to invest in the business of meat production by building a world class abattoir, saying on daily bases the management of the current abattoir generates over N400, 000 from taxes paid by the users of the facility which should have been paid to the government.
“This abattoir was built by the native authority during the period of the late Sardauna, Late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello on the 7th November, 1963 about 55 years ago. When it was built there was little understanding of its benefits to the community butchers in Kano as a result they didn’t take it as a serious business until when the place was sold off to private investors.
“In this abattoir on daily bases not less than 400 to 500 cows are butchered, Camels from 70 to 120, and between 1000 to 2000 rams and goats are butchered every day, and for each cow we pay N1000, for camel we pay N1000, for under animals like ram and goat we pay N100 as tax to the owners of the abattoir by that you can see the level at which we are being exploited to run our business here of which if the abattoir were in the hand of the government won’t have happened.
“So if you put the sum of these taxes together you will notice that we pay about N400m every month as tax to the management of the abattoir. I told you earlier that every single day not less than 400 cows are slaughtered here multiply that by N1000 that is what we pay as tax” he said.
He said because of the private control the butchers’ association did not have control over the daily supply of meat into the market as a result of which on many occasions the markets witness glut of the meat products which reflect in the price of the commodity.
Commenting about the facility which has now been sold off by the state government, Karah expressed regrets for refusing to move into the facility by his predecessors in the business which he blamed for their current ordeals in the hands of private investors at the present slaughter house.
Also, the Publicity Secretary of the association, Malam Jinjiri Ali Haruna stated that the abattoir’s activities, though being owned by a private firm and individuals, were being conducted in accordance with the best practices.
He said thousands of people have been benefiting along the value chain that includes livestock merchants, hide and skin dealers, farmers, transporters and meat sellers.
He said members of the association received training on expert management on meat processing and retailing conducted by Kano state government stressing that, the singular attempt had accorded them the knowledge to operate under strict hygienic guidelines and well-coordinated monitoring strategies.
“Practitioners in this abattoir have been facing problems of a strong competition in animal purchase, there is an absolute hike in animal price especially cows. There is a need for an external intervention that will build up our members’ purchasing power,” he said.
Similarly, the Turakin Sarkin Fawan Kano Musa Shehu Umar Agadasawa stated that, the abattoir receives its supply of animals from all parts of West Africa adding that the opportunities being offered by the abattoir can’t be compared to any profession.
According to him, the abattoir presently harbours many people who made a living within the abattoir’s activities.
“Under a single animal slaughtered, you will find out that over 18 people make a living through its value chain and in this abattoir we slaughter a lot of animals.
It could be recalled that the government of late Audu Bako had built an alternative abattoir to relocate the butchers, but the butchers refused to relocate to the facility due to ignorance on the long term benefits of the facility.