The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has assured that it will be building a modern slaughterhouse to serve the city.
This comes after it emerged that the only functioning one in Accra, described by officials as a public health threat, is on the verge of being shut down.
Speaking to Joy News on Wednesday in connection with the revamped Clean Ghana Campaign, Public Relations Officer of the AMA, Gilbert Ankrah, said the Assembly was in talks with investors to put up a modern facility in the city to avert a public health crisis.
“Issues of slaughterhouses within the AMA zone have been of some concern. I can tell you on authority that the Assembly talks with some investors to see how we can put up a befitting slaughterhouse for the city. As for that, I can assure you”, he disclosed.
There were Swarm of flies, thick spirogyra, and open drains with a pungent smell from animal excreta at the dilapidated slaughterhouse with shredded roofing sheets.
This is the only functioning slaughterhouse within the Accra Metropolitan Assembly when environmental health officers arrived at the facility in Avenor.
The abattoir has been operating for over two decades under continually deteriorating conditions. All efforts by the AMA to get it renovated to meet accepted hygiene and sanitary standards have proven futile.
In the past year alone, at least three visits have been made to this same slaughter house, with a caution for its operators to ensure adherence to sanitation standards.
But like the mouse when the cat is away, the departure of the officials also means the return to flouting the regulations. Florence Kuukyi is Director of Public Health at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.
“I came here to have a meeting with you. I even gave you summons and threatened to plead with court to help close down this place. But look at the place”, she fumed.
The team was greeted by open drains choked by excreta from the intestines of the slaughtered animals. As flies besieged us in the yard, the pungent smell from the gutters at the abattoir was also in a strong contest for our attention. But that was before the orders came.
“So as we are standing here, we are commanding all of [them] to go and get brooms to clean the place right now. If they don’t do it, we are closing down the place”, Florence Kuukyi screamed.
And as the workers began cleaning the premises, there were calls for the place to be closed down altogether. But the owner of the abattoir, Alhaji Mahmoud, pleaded for mercy, promising to ensure immediate action.
“As for this, you are right; that is why we are pleading with you. I will come to your office with my boys so that all of them can take the test as we work to improve the place”, he begged.
At the AMA, the Head of Environmental Health Unit, Joseph Asitanga, explained why a notice of abatement is being issued instead of the closure.
He said, “If we say they shouldn’t be here, they will go and be slaughtering the animals along the road, and all we will have is elsewhere slaughtering which will not be under the supervision of any veterinary officer”.
But Alhaji Mahmoud called for government support to rebuild the place that kills cattle sold as beef in most parts of Accra. In all, the team visited four different sites, closing down one public toilet in the process.