Please, come and buy, there’s no more Ebola —Bush meat sellers   2 comments


From:  Nigerian Tribune

After the declaration that Nigeria is now Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO), it seems many Nigerians are still wary of eating bush meat which many consider to be the carriers of the virus. BODE ADEWUMI and OLAYINKA OLUKOYA visited sellers of bush meat and asked them if Nigerians have started buying from them again.

“I’ve been here for more than 70 years, and in all those years, I never witnessed the type of recession we experienced this year following the announcement that people should desist from eating bush meat. If we brought more than 30 different animals here, we will sell everything, but that was before the announcement that the people should stop eating bush meat because of one disease that I have never heard of in my life.”

This was how Alhaja Sifawu Ayodele started her narration during a trip to bush meat selling point at Baale Ayo, a village sandwiched between Asejire Dam in Oyo State and Ikire in Irewole Local Government Area of Osun State.

Also in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, bush meat sellers have continued to lament over low patronage of the commodity.

Alhaja Ayodele, whose age was put at around 80 by her daughters and herself, told Saturday Tribune that her family moved to that spot when her husband came to the place for farming and that she started the business to support the family. She disclosed that she could not remember the exact year they arrived in the village but most of her children, who are grown-ups, were born to in the place.

Indeed, about two of her children are also into the business now. One is Alhaja Taiwo Ayodele and Omoriyeba, also known as Iya Abass. The two of them are married and have grown-up children, some of who were shown to Saturday Tribune in the course of the interaction.

They all painted a grim picture of the situation of things as they cried out that sales had been too poor since the announcement. Worse still, they lamented that the situation still remained the same even after the government and all those concerned had cleared the air that the country is now free of the disease.

Mrs Risikat Ahmed, who spoke with Saturday Tribune, said it had been tough for them since the outbreak of the disease and that everybody, including them, expected that market would improve following the clean bill given by various organisations and the government, but that it seems the people were not convinced that the time is ripe to resume consumption of bush meat.

Alhaja Ayodele disclosed that it was a ruse that the consumption of bushmeat could result in Ebola.

“We at bush meat throughout the period the scare lasted and nothing happened to anyone of us. In fact, some of us gave birth during the period and still, nothing happened to us. We didn’t have any other meat other than bush meat and these are what we have been eating since infancy and I don’t see myself stopping now.

“I will never agree that bush meat could cause Ebola and that is why we never stopped eating them even when there was panic in the country. We have been proved right that bush meat is not dangerous to health and that no disease could result from their consumption. If they say bats brought Ebola disease, then I don’t even understand how that would affect bush meat or what is the association between bats and bushmeat?” she said.

Although, Alhaja Ayodele admitted that she had retired and all her customers had been transferred to her daughters, she  said she knew everything about the development because she was not senile yet. She said she retired because she had little needs now and her children could provide that.

The sellers said they were optimistic that the market would go up again. They disclosed that they were encouraging the hunters to go hunting again since they also bought from them, but that they were not doing enough now because of the slump in the market.

Bushmeat sellers in Olomore area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, have also made passionate appeal to government at all levels to assist them in sensitising Nigerians that the country is free of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease, hence the need for them to eat bush meat.

When Saturday Tribune visited the traders, their complaint was that their once-thriving business had not picked up again, despited the certification.

For Alhaja Silifatu Maluti, who has been in the business for over 30 years, the period of the outbreak of the disease and now had been the most trying of her life.

She informed Saturday Tribune that all her customers had stopped patronising her, making life difficult for her.

“We used to sell very well before the outbreak of the disease, but nobody is patronising us again. Our business has not picked up again despite the fact that the country has been certified free of the disease.

“We are appealing to our customers to come and buy our goods because that is the only business I’m known for all my life. I used to buy bush meat in large quantities before, but that is history now. This is the most difficult times in this business,” she added.

Speaking in the same vein, Alhaja Balikis Akinbo begged Nigerians to eat bush meat.

She admitted that their business had been adversely affected since the outbreak of the disease.

Akinbo said, “Life has been so miserable to us since the outbreak of this disease. Many of us find it difficult to feed our children or send them to schools. Customers are no longer coming to us. When we ask them to come and buy, many will run away from us as if we are carrying the virus.”

2 responses to “Please, come and buy, there’s no more Ebola —Bush meat sellers

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  1. If people really wanted to they could find food other than “bush meat”. I hope the market for this ends.

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