Four women were on Wednesday arrested in Benin City for selling donkey meat, known as ‘jaki’ to unsuspecting buyers at the New Benin Market, in Edo State.
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 sale of ‘jaki’ meat, despite its prohibition in the state.
Consumption and trading in ‘jaki’ as popularly called, is prohibited in Edo State and some parts of the country, although no official reason has been given for such ban.
It could not also be confirmed that any of the State’s business or environmental laws prohibit consumption or dealing on Donkeys for food or for transportation.
The government official who supervised the arrest of the women, merely said it was “a matter of food safety.”
According to the Permanent Secretary, “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.
It is not clear if the women would be prosecuted immediately but the Commissioner said government would “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, the Chairman, Association of Edo State Practicing Butchers, Akhere Odijie, disclosed that the donkey meats are 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.
Apart from donkey meat, the commissioner was silent on other uncommon meats like snakes, monkeys, among others, being freely traded and consumed in some parts of the country.