Following the protest carried out by meat sellers from different location in the city of Aba early this week over the introduction of a compulsory day to day N200 bags by the Abia state government, the government have announced the suspension of the controversial bag and has fixed Monday, 11th June to discuss further on it.
This was made known through a release by Uma Ibem Oke, the Public Relation Officer for Commissioner of Agriculture Barrister Uzo Azubuike. The release said that the government never forced the bag on the butchers, but rather it was the butchers who decided on their own to adopt such.
According to the release, “The attention of the Ministry of Agriculture has been drawn to the recent protest by some butchers and meat vendors in Aba on the use of hygienic waterproof bags for the packaging of all slaughtered meats moving from the slaughters to the market.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Ministry wishes to state in clear terms that the Ministry did not impose the bags on the butchers rather in an Interactive/Town Hall Meeting held on March 5th 2018 at Aba Town Hall, which was well attended by all the executives and members of the various Butchers Associations and Meat Vendors, they unanimously agreed to put to stop the exposure of meat to unhygienic conditions by carrying meat uncovered on Hijack, Keke and Okada and sometimes dragging the meat along the road.
“They also resolved to form themselves into committee to ascertain the ideal cost for the procurement of the subject bags which will be operational by the 1st of April, 2018. However, the committee did not report back until end of May 2018 hence the approval for Implementation from June 4, 2018.
“The Ministry therefore invites the leadership and members of the various Butchers Associations and Meat Vendors to an Interactive Town Hall meeting on Monday 11th June, 2018 at OLAZ OIL FILLING STATION Waterside Aba by 1 pm prompt.
“Meanwhile, the sale of the Hygienic Bag is hereby suspended pending the outcome of the meeting, while the policy against unhygienic exposure of meats remains in force. All concerned should be properly guided.”
Meanwhile, butchers and meat sellers who seems to have factions among them have expressed diverse opinions for on the controversial hygienic waterproof with some of the alleging that government is only trying to extort them for nothing while some others buy the idea as it is.
According to the opposing group, “The waterproof is not bad, but alleged that it has extortionist motive. “It is bad. We are not against bringing hygienic policy, but we are not in support of how they number it by writing dates which will make someone who bought it today, to buy it again tomorrow. Our question is, can’t we buy it today, wash it tomorrow and use it again? Why must they write date on it? That is extortion.
“Do you know that they made it in a way that it is not one sac for all meat? They are forcing us to buy one sac for every portion of meat you buy. They arrested people the other day and took our meat to police stations for not buying sac for each of the meat. We are not against the sac, but we don’t like the process.”
In a different supportive view,some commended the government for checkmating unhygienic meat selling in Aba which they said will prevent disease saying that the waterproof will help to ensure meat will be protected from contamination.
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