Ipata is a famous spot in Ilorin, Kwara State capital. The popularity of the place is due to daily trading activities and other business transactions taking place. The spot plays host to people of different creeds and backgrounds engaging in one activity or the other.
Other adjourning areas in Ipata include Ojagboro, Isale-Koko, Aduralere, Amilegbe. Before the name ‘Ipata’ came into being, the place was known as Pake. Ipata is today known as a designated market where people earn daily living. The coinage of Ipata emanates from a place where domestic animals especially cows are slaughtered for sale.
A visit to the vicinity of the market attests to how the place has become densely populated. Located within the precinct of Ilorin East Local Government Area, everywhere around the market is usually hustling and bustling. In the market, no dull moment!
Major roads connecting the heart of the market are afflicted by daily traffic gridlock. Motorists always find it uneasy to have seamless passage in the area. The roads from Opomalu, Amilegbe, Gambari experience daily traffic snarl where the drive that should ordinarily take less than two minutes would end up in 30 minutes and even more than that depending on the traffic situation.
The deployment of traffic men around there has little impact, as some motorists, particularly the commercial ones through traffic regulation to the wind by either parking by the road or asking their passengers to alight while wittingly or unwittingly escalating traffic situation in the area.
Apart from the horrible traffic situation outside, entrance into the market is a sight to behold. From the main gate, traders of different items display their wares openly with flies having a free day. The open display of goods especially consumables in an area plagued by flies, is a flagrant invitation to avoidable diseases.
Some consumables usually on display all the way from the roadsides to the inside of the market are fish, ponmo, meat, tomatoes, peppers and locust beans among others.
As if all the horrible sights are not enough, inside the slaughter slab is terrifying. Before entering the main spot, stench oozing out is enough to chase away anyone conscious of good health.
The stench is compounded by a heap of cow dung abandoned by butchers after butchering till God knows when.
Everyday, except Sunday, cows are slaughtered in the abattoir for human consumption without taking cognizance of health implication of prospective final consumers.
Successive local government administrations in Ilorin East council and stakeholders played their parts in addressing the health hazard likely to pose by the activities of the butchers.
As part of efforts to offer its corporate social responsibility and ensure hygienic environment in the abattoir, the management of Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) yesterday stormed the market to not only evacuate the heap of dungs that had become eyesore but also clean up the area to avert epidemic.
Officials of the service led by its executive chairman, Dr Muritala Awodun, arrived the market as early as 8am and headed straight to the abattoir to assess the level of environmental hazard apparently posed by abandoned dung inside the abattoir.
The clean up exercise was carried out by the revenue service in collaboration with the state Ministries of Agriculture; Environment and Forestry and Information and Communications.
Speaking with newsmen at the abattoir, KWIRS executive chairman, Awodun said the exercise was part of the mandate of the service to give back to the community.
He said the service had visited the abattoir prior to the cleaning exercise, pointing out that what the agency met on ground was discouraging.
Awodun added that the service was conscious of health implication the refuse posed to the people, which prompted it to swing into action by cleaning the spot of rubbish.
“We have a responsibility for collecting revenues from the various sectors of the economy and this (Ipata) is informal sector. We visited Butchers Association and we decided to come to their venue of operation, and what we saw, was not satisfactory.
“And because we have a community impact project where we touch on communities, we decided that we use this as our first community back project, to clear all this dump because everybody buys their meat from this place and the health of everybody is at stake if this place is not clean. That is why we decided that we would come here and make sure that this place is clean.
“But we are doing it in conjunction with various ministries that are concerned. The ministry of agriculture, the ministry of environment and the ministry of information so that everybody that is supposed to be concerned about what is happening here is involved. We believe that if we clear it, we will ensure that it is clean regularly and it will not become something like this again.
“But more importantly is the fact that there is permanent abattoir that is almost completed for them at Akerebiata. We will also ensure that the work is fastened so that they (butchers) can move to that permanent abattoir as quickly as possible while this place may be turn into some other use by the local government. But you see here is that this is not a good site and its not good for the health of the entire citizens of Kwara. We really have to step in to do something”, KWIRS boss stated.
Also speaking, the state commissioner for Environment and Forestry, Otunba Taiwo Joseph, said the government would not compromise standard of living of the people, just as maintained that living around abattoir has severe health implication.
He said, “The motive is to see us as a responsible government, not only wanting to generate revenue, but as part of our social responsibility to the people. We just felt that we should kick start this (cleaning exercise) so that it is sustained. You will agree with me that it is a serious environmental problem to those who operate here and the people that live in this vicinity.
“We are just lucky that there have not been reported cases of epidemic diseases. Living with this heap of refuse, it could lead to epidemic disease. We are just lucky. We thank God that we are arresting it at this time and after this exercise, we hope to sustain it”.
In his comment, Chairman, Ilorin East Local Government Area, Barrister Lateef Okandeji, said the council was impressed with the clearing exercise.
He urged butchers and marketers to appreciate the effort of the government in ensuring hygienic environment, warning that they should desist from any act that could jeopardize the laudable effort.
“We are highly impressed with this development, because it has been the major problem of end users of this market, owing to epidemic issue and the health hazards, which those products (animals) constitute to the environment generally. It will be done weekly”, Okandeji said.