Lovers of hide and skin delicacy, otherwise known as ponmo” may have reasons for concern as the Edo State Government on Wednesday arrested four women in Benin City for selling donkey meat, known as ‘jaki’ to unsuspecting buyers as “ponmo” at the New Benin Market.
The Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, who led the team to effect the arrest said the team was alerted that some persons were engaged in the sales of the meat despite its prohibition in the state.
According to him, “this is an issue of food safety. In Edo State, donkey meat is not approved as one of the meats that we consume but our people still indulge in it. We will take all necessary steps to ensure that we eradicate its consumption in Edo State.
“We will continue to ensure that we pursue those involved in the business so that we will bring them to justice because it is not right for us to provide food that is not healthy for our people.”
On his part, Assistant Director, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Medical Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Peter Osagie, noted that “Donkey meat is not part of the meat legislated for human consumption in Edo State; they do this business under the cover of darkness and secrecy.
“Some of these animals being processed for human consumption have not undergone any form of inspection. Any animal that has not been inspected before being presented for human consumption is considered unsafe.”
Also speaking, the Chairman, Association of Edo State Practicing Butchers, Comr Akhere Odijie, disclosed that the donkey meats were being brought into Benin City from Agbor in Delta State.
“These donkey meats have not been in the market in Edo State for a very long time but information got to us this morning that they have brought the meat into the city at about 4:00 am this morning, we swung into action and were able to confiscate this large quantity of donkey meat,” he said.