He mentioned three states in Nigeria which he said are top consumers of dog meat.
Nigerian women consume more dog meat than their male counterparts, says a wildlife expert in Nigeria, Edem Eniang.
Mr Eniang, a professor of wildlife at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, told PREMIUM TIMES in an exclusive interview on 17 January that the rate at which Nigerian women eat dog meat is influenced by their belief that the delicacy helps in making their skin “smooth and subtle”.
“So, (Nigerian) women cherish dog meat much more than men nowadays,” Mr Eniang said, adding that “every woman wants a smooth skin”.
PREMIUM TIMES asked Mr Eniang how he came to the conclusion that women consume more dog meat than men.
“I attended a lecture presented by an erudite Nigerian professor, Professor Richard King (a zoologist), and that is what I learnt from his lecture,” he responded.
Apparently corroborating Mr Eniang’s claim, a female student at the communication arts department, University of Uyo, told this newspaper that she has a female friend in Uyo who usually stores dog meat in a freezer at home, and would use it to prepare pepper soup whenever she feels like.
“I eat dog meat, I like it,” the student, Eunice Ukeme, said.
Mr Eniang said dogs were now scarce in the country because of the increase in the rate at which Nigerians were eating it.
“I witnessed three days ago at Ukpenekang, Ibeno Local Government Area (of Akwa Ibom State), where a man was arrested by police and handcuffed on a Sunday morning. Why? He stole his own brother’s dog and killed it. While they were roasting the dog, an informant told the brother about it. The brother went to the police, and the police came and handcuffed him,” Mr Enang said.
“That same Sunday, around 10 a.m., as I left Ibeno, I went to Oron beach. At that (Oron) museum, I saw some puppies. They were so small, but beautiful. I was afraid of going near them because I feared that their mother was somewhere watching. But a little boy of about 11 years came to me and said that they don’t have a mother. I said, ‘What happened?’ He said two days after the puppies were delivered, somebody stole their mother, and went and killed it for consumption.
“The puppies were six, two have died — I saw four. I was able to photograph two of them,” the professor said.
Mr Eniang later sent the photos of the puppies via WhatsApp to a PREMIUM TIMES reporter.
“I am trying to emphasise the point that dog meat consumption has reached a phenomenal level in Nigeria,” he said to the reporter.
‘Akwa Ibom not biggest consumer of dog meat’
Mr Eniang countered the assumption that Akwa Ibom consumes more dogs than any other state in Nigeria.
“If they want to rank, based on my experience and research, the highest dog-eating area is Nike in Enugu State. If you go to Nike market, they have a dog meat section, very huge, and consumers even sit there and eat while others buy and go home. It goes very well with palm wine,” he said.
“Then the next place will be Plateau State. They consume dog, it got to a stage where the past governor of the state banned the consumption of alcohol in the morning because people were combining it with dog meat, they’ll leave office in the morning to go eat dog meat. There, you can see dog meat roasted like Suya and sold in the streets. If you are not aware, you’ll end up eating it. The third place will now be Akwa Ibom, so to say.”
PREMIUM TIMES reporter in Enugu, Chinagorom Ugwu, confirmed Mr Eniang’s assertion on the high rate of dog meat consumption in the Nike area, Enugu State.
Nike is a clan of about 25 communities, and our reporter, Mr Ugwu, is from the Ugwogo-Nike community in Nike.
“It is difficult to see anybody from Nike who does not eat dog meat. In fact, it is almost like an impossibility,” Mr Ugwu said, on Wednesday.
Mr Ugwu, however, does not eat dog meat, he said.
“Their belief (in Nike) is that dog meat can cure malaria. They believe it is something that can cleanse the body system,” the reporter said.
Should Nigeria ban dog meat consumption?
PREMIUM TIMES asked Mr Eniang if the Nigerian government should follow the South Korea example by banning dog meat consumption.
“The South Korea example cannot work in Nigeria because in Korea the basic necessities of life are in place, and the people eating dog are eating it for cultural attachment, whereas in our place (Nigeria) the government has not put anything in place to cushion the lack of meat, the lack of fish,” Mr Eniang responded.
Mr Eniang, who said he himself does not eat dog meat, argued that Nigerians are suffering from deprivation, and therefore the government would be fighting a losing battle if they try to ban dog meat consumption.
“People who were farming chicken, they are not able to farm again because of the absence of feed – the poultry feed is out of the reach of the ordinary person. People have stopped farming fish because they can’t afford the feed,” he said.