Ibadan Central Abattoir and government’s push for integrated agro-allied development

Cold room at the new abattoir

FEMI IBIROGBA brings reports of the economic interests of various stakeholders in the recent Ibadan central abattoir crisis in Oyo State.

The Ibadan Central Abattoir may have gulped over N3 billion, as Oyo State Government officials and developers have exclusively told The Guardian that the project is a catalyst to integrated agro-allied industry development of the state.

Stakeholders also revealed that the crisis that followed the relocation of butchers to the facility revolved around the wellbeing and economic interests of the state and its people expressed in discordant forms.

The central abattoir is a public-private-partnership (PPP) initiative to ensure the public is supplied with healthy and hygienically prepared beef while the butchers and the developers make business.

The closed abattoirs were, according the Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Toye Arulogun, unfit for slaughtering cattle for human consumption, hence the idea of a more hygienic and decent facility.

While explaining the PPP project, the developer of the abattoir, Mr. Abiodun Kehinde Ahmadu, who is also the Managing Director of C&E Ltd, a subsidiary of Ahmak Group, said the central abattoir initiative started during the former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala-led government.

The vision, he said, was to make economic success out of the idea and improve on the living standard of not only of the citizenry but also of all the other stakeholders in the project.

“We presented the proposal to the government on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement, and for it to work out in terms of economics, it has to be central.

An MOU was signed between the government and our company, C&E Ltd to that effect,” Ahmadu said.

The arrangement, according to him, was to build the facility at about N2.5 billion, and run it for 30 years and return it to the government, which was to take 30 per cent.

The new Abiola Ajimobi-led government crosschecked, reviewed the agreement and drafted a supplementary agreement.

Ahmadu revealed that the state remodelled the concept, bearing in mind that local government areas were constitutionally empowered to operate and manage abattoirs.

“We drafted another arrangement where 11 local government areas in Ibadan metropolis have 36 per cent equity by virtue of the statutory role; the state government has 10 per cent; butchers’ union in the state has four per cent, and we as the developer have 50 per cent of the net income,” he added.

Corroborating what Mr. Ahmadu said, the information commissioner said10 per cent was allotted to the government because it provided the land.

36 per cent was given to local government areas in the metropolis because they are ‘constitutional owners,’ saying at the end of the BOT arrangement, the facility would be returned to them. In the operating period, they would be earning income through dividends.

The C&E managing director added that so far, the company had invested N3 billion into the modern abattoir, serving as a prototype any state could emulate in the country.

Explaining the charges, the developer said, “It has an automated cattle processing unit. At the rate of N10,000 per head of cattle, it will take us 50 years to make our capital and profit, but the new agreement says the charges should be N3,500,” he added.

The butchers were paying about N2000 where they were coming from, but the abattoirs were not maintained. The bane of abattoirs is maintenance, but the developer said the ultramodern facility would be maintained and overhauled regularly to justify its essence.

The Guardian found that the union of butchers was carried along from the inception.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the state government, the 11 local government areas in the metropolis, the union and the company, C&E Ltd.

“Everything was spelled out as agreed, but a few of their godfathers who were benefiting from the past system did not want to let go,” the C&E boss said, adding that “They were illegally collecting what should go to the government.

The government even accommodates their interest, but the few who resisted the move actually caused the crisis.”

On the dividend-sharing formula

The state, the LGAs and the butchers cannot have it better, The Guardian was told. The 11 LGAs already have an inheritance of N3 billion by the time the BOT period expires because it will be returned to them.

The developer said the LGAs could not be underestimated because it was their scope according to the law.

Each of them could have decided to have a separate abattoir in their areas, adding, “But if they were to build a modern one as we did, from where would they get the funds?

Two, they would take 36% dividend in the next 35 years. Three, you can imagine what the facility would worth when it is returned to them.”

The butchers, who did not contribute capital, other than the goodwill, also have four per cent dividend allotted to them.

However, the developer said reducing the percentage from 70 per cent to 50 was unfavorable, “but as the developer, we have to forebear, cut our losses and make the best use of the situation we find ourselves.”

He said to recoup the capital and make profit, the company would have to collect N10,000 per head of cattle for 10 years, saying, “but we have accepted the new terms and cut our losses. We have benefitted from Oyo State as a company and we consider our concessions as a payback time.”

Facilities in the abattoir include two manual slaughter slabs capable of 3000 cattle per day; an automated processor handling 50 cattle per hour; a 7000-capacity cattle holding bay; 700,000-litre capacity water tanks; incinerators to burn solid waste; human and animal clinics; a police post; a banking hall; restaurants; open and closed stalls; and retail selling sheds.

Also available are car parks, butchers’ house, cold rooms and an administrative block. They have value for their money in a more hygienic environment.

Ancillary businesses

The location of the abattoir, as the commissioner puts it, is a potential economic hub. Cab operators, ware sellers, food vendors and many more sets of traders are springing up as ancillary businesses.

While supporting the optimism of the government, the developer also said apart from the revenue capturing for the government and others, there would be an offshoot of other agro-allied businesses.

For instance, he said, the blood of the cattle would be collected and used for fish feeds.

About 500 cattle are slaughtered daily, and a cow has about 16 litres of blood, capable of producing a large quantity of fishmeal daily.

The solid waste could also be converted to manure and the developer was considering a biogas plant along the line. The bones are there for poultry and other feeds producers to mop up.

In fact, the abattoir is a model for integrated farming where solid excreta, blood, bones and other by-products would be used to improvise manure, fish meal, poultry calcium and a myriad of others respectively.

The developer was optimistic that the abattoir would bring a lot of business activities in the next two to three years, and that the place would become a major economic and commercial hub in the state.

Arulogun also affirmed that the abattoir was a public-private partnership (PPP) project.

He added that the larger interest of the people of the state had been paramount in terms of the revenue accruable to the state and local government areas for socio-economic development, and more importantly, the public health.

Secretary of the National Butchers’ Union of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter, Mr. Olagoke Lateef, declared support for the relocation to the facility, saying the government had taken care of their interest and had granted some of their demands.

He said: “All licences of all other slaughter slabs have been revoked by the government, and there have been no vet doctors to inspect cattle at those abattoirs.”

He revealed that in December 2017, about 60 members of the union were taken to Lagos in an excursion to Agege abattoir, adding that the central abattoir in Ibadan was even better than Agege’s.

Olagoke disclosed that the state government held a town-hall meeting with over 2000 members in April this year, and set up a committee of all stakeholders, and an MOU was signed after that.

“Subsequently the state government agreed to provide police security at the abattoir, six vans, four mass transit buses, and we all agreed to move to the abattoir on June 4, 2018.”

Some people calling themselves rights activists, he added, instigated some members against the union and the government.

“We can now sell at our various selling points because it has been resolved and no butcher slaughters cattle outside the central abattoir,” he said.

The union demanded four conditions before moving to the central abattoir and they included adequate security of life and cattle; effective transportation system; a pedestrian bridge to cross from the expressway; and reduction of the cost of cattle handling from N5000 to N3500.

According to him, all the demands, with the exception of a pedestrian bridge, had been met.

A plea for assistance

Two butchers who spoke on a condition of anonymity said many of them lost cattle and beef as a result of the fracas that led to the death of about three persons.

They claimed that hoodlums carted away their life cattle and fresh beef, resulting in the loss of thousands of naira.

They added that micro-finance operators were after them to repay their loans; that schools proprietors had been sending their children back from school and that some of them had been finding it difficult feeding their families.

They, therefore, urged the government and other corporate entities as well as philanthropists to ascertain the veracity of their claims and come to their aid.

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