Enugu State residents have increased consumption of bush meat despite of warnings by health experts against the recent scourge of Lassa-fever in parts of the country.
A bush meat seller at Ugwuogo-Nike, Mrs Judith Anike told NAN that the rate at which customers patronise the meat was alarming and very glaring. According to her, “Despite the imminent threat by the scourge of Lassa Fever, my business is thriving.
“I do finish the sale of three grass-cutters, five guinea fowl and pieces of antelope between 12 noon and 6 pm on weekdays but on Fridays and Saturdays the quantity increases, especially if there is a traditional celebration or burial in the area. My customers do feel bad whenever I run out of stock to serve them. I have been in this business in the past 13 years. The cost of the meat increased from between N500 and N700 per piece in 2016 to between N800 and N1, 000 in 2017 and now.
Another bush meet seller, Mr Jerome Ugwu at Four-Corner junction, confirmed Mrs Anike’s view, adding that the business had been booming in the past three months, in spite of the scourge of Lassa-fever.
“I go to different local markets to buy bush meat to satisfy my customers. At times, I book the hunters ahead of time to ensure l have the one to sell. It is a good business and l make between N50, 000 and N70, 000 profit weekly, after all expenses are deducted,’’ he said.
Mr Charles Ani, a consumer of bush meat at one of the joints, said that he enjoyed the meat because they were well prepared with local spices especially roast ones. “When you eat bush meat, they are special and less fatty. It is well enjoyed with any cool beer or palm wine. Chicken and beef meat are regulars we have in our homes but this type of meat are rare to come by. I patronize it almost every week,’’ he said.
Another consumer, Mr Uche Onah, said that he preferred bush meat to any other meat and served it as a delicacy for important visitors. “For me, bush meat is better than the regular red meat we consume daily. In the olden days, people eat their meet dried to reduce some of the contaminations in the meat. Lassa fever did not kill them. The only myth l heard surrounding bush meat, especially grasscutter, is that pregnant women do not eat it, to avoid prolonged labour. I don’t know how factual it is,’’ he said.
When contacted, a medical doctor with the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, Dr Eric Odo said that there was nothing bad in eating bush meat so long as they were properly cooked. He warned hunters against coming in contact with the blood or urine of the animals they killed to avoid contracting diseases. (NAN)