Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

By Ojukwu Emmanuel Chiadikaobi


The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has issued a red alert to Nigerians following the detection of poison in trade animals at the Mandate Cattle Market, situated near the College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies in Adewole, Ilorin, Kwara State. The announcement, made through a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Temitope Fashedemi, underscores the urgency of the situation and calls for immediate action to mitigate the risks posed by the contaminated animals.

The statement reveals that a Rapid Response Team (RRT) in Kwara State, in collaboration with the State Government’s task force, swiftly intervened to trace and confiscate the meat from the poisoned animals. The confiscated meat was subsequently disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner to prevent further harm. Additionally, 40 suspected poisoned animals were treated with organophosphate antidotes, resulting in significant improvement in their health and eventual recovery.

The outbreak, which occurred on Saturday, 20th April 2024, has raised serious concerns about public health risks and the potential consequences within the food chain. Investigations conducted by the Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development indicate that the animals ingested forage that had been fumigated with organophosphate chemicals prior to the incident, leading to clinical signs such as hypersalivation, weakness, and recumbency.

Despite the prompt response and measures taken to address the situation, the Ministry emphasizes the need for heightened vigilance and adherence to safety protocols. It warns against the consumption of unwholesome meat and urges consumers to purchase meat only from registered, government-approved sources such as abattoirs and meat shops. Furthermore, the Ministry advises strict observation of withdrawal periods after the administration of drugs or chemicals to animals to ensure the safety of animal products intended for human consumption.

To prevent future occurrences of such hazardous agricultural practices, the Ministry advocates for collaborative efforts between stakeholders and the adoption of best veterinary and agricultural practices. It encourages the reporting of diseased or suspicious animals to veterinary clinics or animal health service providers and emphasizes the importance of proper disposal of dead animals under the guidance of veterinarians and environmental health officers.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security reaffirms its commitment to safeguarding public health and ensuring the availability of wholesome food of animal origin. Through its Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, the Ministry pledges to continue working closely with state counterparts to prevent and control diseases, agricultural pests, and hazards, thereby promoting animal welfare and food safety across the nation.

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