Two men identified as Tolu Makanju, a 1998 Mechanical Engineering graduate of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, and Jonathan Ogbeide, have been arrested for allegedly being in possession of 85 dead chickens they were processing as frozen food for sale for public consumption.
The dead chickens after being processed, P.M.NEWS reliably gathered, were usually neatly packed and sold to eateries as frozen foods and also supplied to caterers who cook for big events such as weddings.
The suspects were arrested at 3/5, Olusegun Babatunde Street, Igando, by officials of the Environmental Health Unit of Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
They were subsequently handed over to the police at Igando police station for prosecution.
A police source at the station who does not want his name mentioned, told our correspondent that they would be charged to court after a thorough investigation into the matter.
They were accused of insanitary processing of dead fowls in an unhygienic premises for sale to the public, failure to produce medical certificate for their workers and failure to produce license for operation by the LCDA’s Environmental Health Unit headed by Mrs. Omowunmi Onibudo.
According to the council’s Chief Environmental Health Officer, “some of the women working for them became jittery when we caught them unawares and started confessing to the crime we held them for before their master came to obstruct our vehicle.
“One of our officers, while on routine inspection, saw the workers processing dead chickens meant for sale to the public on a soak away. They were actually pulling their feathers when they were caught red handed. Their master claimed they slaughtered them but the amount of blood in the premises does not measure up to the amount of chicken found with them.
“The officer accosted them and called the office for reinforcement because she could not handle the situation alone. As the exhibits were about being transferred to the council’s bus, the owner blocked our vehicle from going out of the compound, saying we were not going to move an inch away from the compound.
“We had to call for policemen from Igando police station to assist us in getting them arrested. He still put up some resistance until the policemen made him realise they were not there for child’s play. They were arrested and made to write statements. We confiscated the dead chickens and buried them the following day.
“There are further actions to be taken against them. The Customary Court under our jurisdiction, sit on Tuesday and Wednesdays and hopefully we are going to charge them to court on Tuesday to serve as deterrent to others who equally engage in such illicit acts,” she said.
According to Makanju, “I’m a law abiding citizen of this country. We have been in this business for close to three years now and I would not because of money endanger the life of others. Those chickens were bought alive. We were the ones that slaughtered them.
“We have our customers whom we supply them to every weekend. My partner had a poultry farm before it was pulled down by his elder brothers in that same compound. Since the poultry farm was pulled down, we take the chickens to a farm at Akowonjo except on rare occasions when we have less quantity.
“We didn’t know it is not right to be doing this kind of thing in a residential building until now. I make bold to say again that those chickens were bought alive before we brought them there. We can take you to where we bought them for confirmation.”
According to his partner, Jonathan, “we have where we normally process these chickens at Akowonjo whenever we have them in large quantity but these ones were not much and that was why we gave them to those people to do it for us because they were complaining that school has resumed and that they wanted to pay their children’s school fees; if not we would not have brought them home.
“We are only trying to assist them but now it has put us in trouble. I make bold to say that we bought those chickens alive. They were not dead, we slaughtered them ourselves.”