Butchers in Kogi on Monday lamented low patronage occasioned by the advice by government that residents should shun cow meat for about one week because of suspected poisoning.
Kogi Government on Thursday advised residents to shun cow meat for at least one week as 20 cows that grazed somewhere in Lokoja died after ingesting substances suspected to have been poison.
Their herder quickly slaughtered some and sent to markets in Lokoja, Osara and some other parts of the town.
The Directorate of Veterinary Services, Kogi Ministry of Agriculture, got a hint of this and quickly mobilised and recalled the meat from markets that already took delivery of some.
Butchers who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja said they were losing huge sums of money because of low patronage.
“I don’t make up to 30 per cent of what I used to make in a day these days. Customers are no longer buying meat,” Alhaji Umar Banana at Lokogoma Market, Lokoja, lamented.
“Butchery is at its lowest ebb these days because of the unfortunate death of those 20 cows. This is because people are afraid to die.
“We cooperated with government and ensured that bad meat that got into markets on that day, were collected and handed over for destruction; in spite of this, people are afraid to eat meat.
“Unsold meat that we managed to store is getting bad as power supply is erratic so they cannot be stored properly,” Banana lamented.
Chairman, Butchers Association at the market, Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed, described the situation as “very painful and unfortunate” given butchers’ innocence in the poisoned cows saga.
Mohammed said the impact had become so bad that “even the only cow slaughtered on Sunday in the market was not completely sold. We still have some of it in the market on Monday.’’
“Patrons even ask whether the meat we have is from the poisoned cows or not
“Of course, we always try to assure them; yet only very few are bold enough to buy the meat. We are losing a lot and it’s not good for us and our families at all,’’ he lamented.
“Before this ugly incident happened, we used to slaughter between 20 cows and 30 cows daily here in Lokogoma Market, but now it is only two cows or one cow per day,’’ he added.
At the new International Market, Lokoja, a butcher, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, said between 80 cows and 100 cows were slaughtered across Ganaja, Barracks, Lokogoma, Zango and International Markets, on daily basis.
“Unfortunately now, we hardly slaughter up to 20 cows put together for the whole of these markets due to low patronage, which has badly crumbled meat business in the state.
“We are appealing to the public to trust us as regards the poisoned cows. As people, who fear God, we won’t allow them to eat any meat that is not healthy or that will harm them.
“If we sell bad meat to the people and they get hurt, even God will ask us and punish us here and in the hereafter.
“Again, we will be doing ourselves harm because our businesses will collapse totally and as butchers or meat sellers we wouldn’t want that to happen,” Abdullahi stressed. (NAN)