The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has established a biogas plant to improve the sanitary condition of abattoirs in the nation’s capital. CALEB ONWE reports
Poor sanitary condition of abattoirs in the Federal Capital Territory has been a challenge to the government, residents and other stakeholders, who depend on the slaughter houses for their daily meat needs.
The poor environmental condition of most abattoirs is said to have contributed to the spread of diseases, which help in endangering human health. In a bid to address the challenges, the government had made several efforts but the conditions have persisted, creating anxieties in the minds of residents.
Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Federal Capital Territory, Stanley Nzekwe, said that when he assumed office, the condition of abattoirs in FCT was so poor, that he had to start work towards evacuating animal dung that was allowed to pile up everywhere in these abattoirs.
Recently, the sanitary condition of the abattoirs attracted the attention of an International Environmental Organisation, African Environment Action Network(EANet-Africa). The organisation has taken some steps to provide a biogas plant said to have the capacity of addressing the challenges of evacuation of animal waste in these slaughter houses.
A visit to some of the abattoirs within the nation’s capital shows that they do not provide only slaughter slabs for animals, but also makeshift accommodation for both the butcher and meat sellers.
Inside Abuja observed that the makeshift structures at the Karu abattoir was a home to some families of those who eke out a living from the economic activities that go on in the place.
The biogas pilot project Recently, Nzekwe flagged off the construction of the first modern low carbon biogas plant in Karu abattoir.
The project was said to be in collaboration with an International Environmental Organisation, African Environment Action Network(EANet-Africa). The project, Inside Abuja learnt, was a Public Private Partnership arrangement that would be completely funded by the organisation, and would serve as a multi-purpose facility to reduce the effects of climate change and provide a cleaner environment in the abattoirs.
According to experts:”Biogas can be produced from raw materials, such as agricultural waste, animal dung manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or food waste” It was also said that the biogas plant will serve as a source of renewable energy that can power electricity for the abattoirs community and its environs.
While the cost of the project was not made public, the organisation through its representatives said that the FCT administration has no hand in the funding. Nzekwe, who did the ground breaking ceremony, said the project was coming at the time it was most needed given the escalating human activities impacting negatively on the environment.
Inside Abuja also gathered that the project was conceived and designed to be completed within six months, and the success achieved with the pilot scheme at the Karu abattoir, would determine whether it would be extended to other major abattoirs within the nation’s capital.
According to him, FCTA will not relent on collaboration with development partners and providing the enabling environment for agribusiness development in the FCT. Co-Founder, EANet- Africa, Victor Ayodeji, disclosed that the project was envisioned and funded with the assistance of international partners, in line with the organisation’s objectives of community development.
Ayodeji told Inside Abuja that the project was designed to tackle the effects of climate change in rural communities, and that it had the capacity to generate electricity for no fewer than 150 households in the area. He also told Inside Abuja that the organisation was committed to the project, and would ensure that it was completed within six months.
The project, Ayodeji said, would help reduce the pressure of animal waste on the environment.
According to him, 85 per cent of the cause of air pollution in the FCT would be tackled when the plant comes on stream. “There is going to be a biogas station in Karu, the first of its kind in the country, to reduce what is causing climate change in the society,” he explained.
Head, Animal Services, ARDS, Dr Regina Adulugba, said the initiative would not only bring the desired transformation in FCT abattoirs, but a sure solution to the climate change concerns which all stakeholders are committed to addressing. She described the project as a demonstration of the commitment of the FCT administration to promoting sustainable development in the society.
“We are combating anything that will destroy our environment because of the increasing effects of climate change,” she noted. Stakeholders react to the project Chairman of the Karu Cattle Dealers Association, (Sarki Fulani), Isah Malami, said the abattoir community sees the project as a good development, pledging that they will cooperate with the government to achieve the goals of the project.
He however called on the government to check the increasing activities of illegal butchers, who are suspected to be collaborating with cattle rustlers in the territory. He urged relevant authorities to ensure that the biogas plant project was sustained, while introducing other initiatives that will better the lives of those who depend on abattoirs for survival.
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