Oko-Oba: Lagos community where abattoir wastes unleash daily misery on residents

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Editor’s Note: Globally, efforts have been made to nip in the bud the health implications of water waste generated from abattoirs because such waste materials are highly nitrogenous and biodegradable with high concentration of suspended and dissolved solids, fat scraps, blood, gut contents, detergents, and hide scraps. In many parts of the world, the issue of environmental health is now being taken with utmost importance but in Nigeria, many abattoirs are still eyesores.

In Lagos, the strong stench generated by waste water coming from Abattoir and Lairage Complex in Oko-Oba area of Agege, which was constructed in 1992, is seriously threatening the health of residents of Hanat Augusto estate, Ladoje Street, Ayoola Street and many other streets around the area.

In this feature article, Wale Akin Ola met with some residents who revealed how their lives and businesses are being threatened by the unpleasant odour coming from the Oko-Oba abattoir.

The large open canal carrying liquid wastes from the Lagos abattoir near residential area.

The large open canal carrying liquid wastes from the Lagos abattoir very close to Oko-oba residential area.

According to a resident in the area, Mr. Lanre Dare, a staff of Spring Hill Suite and Resorts at 14 Hanat Augusto Estate, Oko-Oba, the stench from the abattoir, one of the most popular and legally recognised Lagos, is causing serious concerns among those who live close to the facility.

Health fears

Dare told NAIJ.com during a chat in Lagos that residents are concerned that the horrible odour coming from the wastes from the abattoir is affecting their lifestyle and could also have long-term effects on their health.

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He said: “The stench from the water waste coming from the abattoir has not been friendly, the atmosphere is highly polluted and most people living around here usually perceive a very bad odour that comes with the pollution and it has not been very pleasant but we have no choice than to cope with it. This is having serious negative effects on people’s health because when you stay where the air is polluted, definitely it will affect your health system, so it is a big concern.

“The odour generated by the blood that comes from abattoir is nauseating and it affects virtually all of us around here. I am into hospitality business, and almost all the times, we have guests who complain that instead of taking fresh air they are breathing bad air. The negative effect is more than the positive effect on us and our business. The positive effects of relocating abattoir is more if compared with how people’s health is being threatened by the odour of waste coming from abattoir. It is when there is life that you can do business, if you are sick, you can’t be able to do anything.”

‘Kicking Lagos abattoir out of Oko-Oba’

Dare said he and other residents have made efforts to ensure that the state government finds a lasting solution to their plight and added that the residents would be particularly happy if the abattoir is relocated to any other area within the state.

A dirty gutter carrying wastes away from the Lagos abattoir

A dirty gutter carrying wastes away from the Lagos abattoir

He said, “Recently, we are hearing but we don’t know how far it is true that the government is planning to relocate the abattoir, so we are waiting to see that because with the massive activity going on there, abattoir is not supposed to be located in residential areas, rather, it should be located where there is little concentration of people. We have been hearing about the relocation, but I believe at some points, we will still have to channel our complaints to appropriate quarters.

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“I understand that some people don’t want the government to relocate it to another place because of their sentiments. It is understandable that those in that business will not want the government to relocate it but for us residents it a welcome development. We can buy meat anywhere and if they slaughter cows anywhere that is appropriate within the state, they can bring it to the market here because the market will still be there.

“The government is contemplating to relocate the abattoir not the market. In the long run, the positive effects of relocating it is more if compared with how people’s health is being threatened by the odour of waste coming from abattoir. It is when there is life that you can do business, if you are sick, you can’t be able to do anything but most of them are not literate enough to understand that, so, I guess they are arguing based on that sentiment of running the business. But I don’t see it as an issue because if it is relocated, we can still buy meat, even from here they transport meat to other markets within the state.

“As far as I know, the government is not relocating the market but the process of slaughtering the meat; I think the people should be educated on this. I am sure we have a responsible government and they will have to look at the details. I know that relocating abattoir is not going to be simple and easy but with the kind of government we have, I believe the governor will find a lasting solution to be our plight. And in their wisdom, if they feel that the abattoir should be relocated, I believe they will and they should but we will leave it to them to do the needful as soon as possible.”
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Also speaking with NAIJ.com, the Managing Director, Filua Pimp My Ride, Alhaji Filua Rasheed of 10, Hanat Augusto estate, Oko-Oba, described the odour as ‘unpleasant, killing and hazardous’ but said that relocating the abattoir would not be necessary if the government could reconstruct a covered channel where the waste can easily pass to the lagoon without making contact with the atmosphere.

The abattoir's canal flowing with its smelly liquid wastes at Oko-Oba.

The abattoir’s canal flowing with its smelly liquid wastes at Oko-Oba.

“I have been working here since 2007. The water waste from abattoir is affecting everybody in this estate. The odour is too much and it affects our health. I believe what the government can do to help us is that the channel of the water waste from abattoir should be covered as it is done in western world. I am not saying that the government should relocate it to another area but if the government can construct boots where cows’ blood and wastes are passed through covered canals to the lagoon, the residents will not breathe in any bad odour that may be inimical to their health.

“I want us to exercise more patience till the government comes to our aid on this issue, it is not something that individuals or landlord association can do because it is a huge budget. If the government can assist us now, I think it will be better for us for the purpose of ourselves’ and children’s health because health is wealth. Bad odour can shorten lives, so, the government should assist us to cover the canal where the water waste passes through. In advanced countries, they too have abattoirs but you can’t perceive any unpleasant odour around the areas because they are well planned. The government should come to our aid now. We are not saying that abattoir should be relocated because it is a major revenue generator for Agege and Ifako-Ijaiye local governments.”

A royal assessment

Commenting on the effects of water waste from the abattoir on the residents of the area, a traditional ruler, the Sarumi of Agege, Chief Tajudeen Awodele, who lives at 18 Ladoje Street, another street which is also affected, complained about the filth and stench residents breathe in on a daily basis and begged the government to do something fast to save the lives of Oko-Oba residents.

“You can imagine the health hazard this is having on the people that are living in this environment who breathe in this bad odour on a daily basis. It is not healthy to live here but what can we do? We own the houses here”, he said.

Oko-Oba’s way out of the misery

In a chat with NAIJ.com, the chairman, Lagos State House Committee on Environment, Hon. Saka Fafunmi, said that the government’s policy on the management of abattoir needs to be looked into as a way out for Oko-Oba residents.

He noted that when the abattoir was conceptualized, the area was not as populated and developed as it is now and he urged residents to take their personal hygiene more seriously to neutralize the possible hazard of the waste generated from the abattoir.

Liquid wastes flowing into open gutters enroute the huge canal (pictured above) at the Lagos abattoir.

Liquid wastes flowing into open gutters enroute the huge canal (pictured above) at the Lagos abattoir.

He stated, “The policy of the government in the management of abattoir has to be seriously looked into. Recently, most of the people living around that area have been witnessing one form of ailment or the other and it probably accounts for the pollution and more importantly the hazardous waste being generated from the Abattoir.

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“When the Abattoir was conceptualized, most of these areas were not as developed and as populated as they are now. Abattoirs are not meant to be sited in the middle of the city and that is why the government contemplated in moving them to the outskirt of Lagos somewhere around Imota in Ikorodu precisely. But all efforts to relocate the abattoir and its operators so far have proved abortive.

“My message to the people living around the Abattoir is that they should take their personal hygiene more seriously. Abattoir itself is a community, it is a state in a state, it has its own rules, it is being governed in different way and the kind of life they live in Abattoir is something that calls for the government’s attention. So, I will want the Lagos State government to visit the Abattoir and do the needful on the area.

“I understand that people’s lives and health are being threatened by the water waste coming from the Abattoir and the primary responsibility of any government is to protect lives and property and that is why the government is looking in the direction of taking them to a more conducive environment. When you take them to the outskirt where there is less interaction with human being, taking them to area that is not as populated as Ifako-Ijaiye, you will realize that the health hazard will be minimal, if any, and a proper Abattoir can be built because it is meant to be sited where you can have effective discharge of waste not a make-shift that we have currently in Oko-Oba, Agege area of the state.”

The post Oko-Oba: Lagos community where abattoir wastes unleash daily misery on residents appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read Naij.com 24/7.

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