Dog meat consumption in Nigeria
Dogs are eaten by various groups in some states of Nigeria, including Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Plateau, Taraba and Gombe of Nigeria. They are believed to have medicinal powers.
BBC News website, Abuja - March 2007
The famous reverse news headline "Man bites dog!" is old news to some restaurants in Nigeria's capital, Abuja.
"Welcome to animal kingdom where man pikin dey show dog pepper," says Chibuzo Eze in Pidgin English, meaning: Welcome to place where the son of man is giving dogs a hard time.
Mr Eze then hungrily gets back to tugging his chunk of dog meat.
He is standing under a mango tree in "South Africa", the name of an open-air restaurant hidden behind the living quarters of a Western construction firm in Abuja.
"It is called South Africa because behind those high walls you'll find rich Europeans and outside here is Soweto, where we, ordinary masses, struggle with dog meat," Mr Eze explains with a smile playing on his face.
'Improves your sex life'
Mr Eze says he eats dog meat because "e dey protect person from all those nyama-nyama disease them" - it gives you immunity from different diseases.
A few yards away Bassey Umoh, South Africa's owner and chief chef, pokes at larger chunks of sizzling meat barbecuing on wire gauze over an open fire.
Mr Umoh, or Oga Bassey (oga is Pidgin English for boss) - as the "South Africans" fondly call him, says he has been selling dog meat since he completed a two-year apprenticeship in the business some 30 years ago.
He also eats the meat he sells.
"Eating dog meat gives you a special protection against the most potent juju (charm)," he claims, reeling off the benefits of dog meat.
"Dog meat also improves your sex life. And if you eat dog meat, you cannot be poisoned."
But not everyone is convinced by Oga Bassey's arguments.
"The very idea of eating dog meat is absolutely disgusting," says Mary Iroanya, an office worker in the capital.
"The talk about dog meat curing diseases and giving protection against charms and the rest is mere superstition.
"People who eat dog meat only use those excuses to convince themselves that what they are doing is okay."
Her colleague Adeola Osinuga is also less than convinced by such claims. "Besides, I cannot eat dog meat because dogs are like pets," she says.
Oga Bassey, however, says his cuisine is in high demand although his business is not doing so well because dogs are becoming scarce now in Abuja.
"Everybody is eating dog meat openly now, that is why dogs are scarce," he says.
Many Abuja dog owners complain that their dogs have gone missing, probably ending up in the likes of Oga Bassey's big dog pepper soup pot.
Eaters of dog meat claim there are many benefits. Most Nigerians keep dogs not as pets, but as guard dogs.
And instead of keeping them in kennels, the dogs are usually left to wander about freely, making them an easy target for people to kidnap and sell to restaurant owners like Mr Umoh.
But Mr Umoh says he does not buy stolen dogs. He, however, admits that it is often difficult to tell whether some of the dogs sold to him have been stolen.
"We have heard of people stealing dogs to sell. Our policy here in 'South Africa' is that we do not deal in stolen merchandise. So, we normally quiz our customers to be sure they are selling their own dogs," he explains.
"Moreover, 'South Africa' is not the only dog-meat joint in Abuja," Mr Umoh adds.
Indeed, there are three popular dog meat joints in this district on the western edge of Abuja alone.
Also as a rule, there is always a dog-meat pepper soup joint in every army or police barracks in Abuja.
Nigeria's riot police seem to have a thing for dog meat too as a popular dog-meat joint called Obalende sits in the middle of their barracks in Nyanya, another Abuja suburb.
Another popular dog-meat spot is "Zimbabwe", an open-air joint next to a small river on the outskirts of Abuja.
Unlike "South Africa", "Zimbabwe" is, however, notorious for its gamblers, pick-pockets, prostitutes and bootlegged spirits.
Another dog-meat eater, Beke Nnkwo says he was introduced to the cuisine as a cure for malaria.
"People who eat dog meat have no business with malaria," Mr Nnkwo says. "So, I was introduced to the meat as a cure for malaria and I can testify that it works."
Medical opinion, however, seems to differ.
"Dog meat, to the best of my knowledge, is not any different from any other meat. The claim that it cures malaria is definitely not true," says Dr Yakubu Nyandaiti a consultant at Nigeria's University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
"It cannot be true either that it boosts human immunity," he says.
For Mr Nnkwo, however, an Igbo from south-eastern Nigeria, eating dog meat is a question of culture.
"I hear they eat frogs in certain parts of the world. But I tell you, no matter how you cook or dress a frog, I can never eat it.
"But dog is different. So, eating dog meat is a question of culture for me."
Dog meat is also eaten in Plateau and Gombe states in the north and it is becoming quite popular in other parts of the country including Kaduna and Adamawa with Abuja as the newest entrant.
Asked how tasty the meat is, Mr Nnkwo beams and says: "Oh la la! You don't know what you are missing."
“We want permanent site for our market”
Dog Sellers Association tells Plateau Government
August 15, 2012 - Daily Post Nigeria
For Dog Sellers Association, Fwagul Dog Market chapter, Jos, it’s high time they moved to their own permanent site for proper and effective transaction of business without hitches.
They association said this through it’s Chairman, Mr Oliver Gowon, that the state government should establish a dog in the greater Jos master plan.
His words: “What we have is a temporary market and this is neither good nor conducive for the growth of our business.
“We were formerly at the old Jos market before we were moved to this rented plot of land. We are appealing to the State Government to establish a dog in the greater Jos master plan.
“We want a market that is fenced to minimize the rate at which dogs escape each time they break loose.
“We also want stalls we can lock, as well as pipe borne water, electricity and other amenities that would improve the sanitary condition of our trade.”
Gowon, who was a former Councillor in Kanke Local Government of Plateau, said that a conducive market had become “very necessary” because the dog market was becoming more lucrative every day.
“Government can generate a lot of revenue from the dog market because people do come from distant places on daily basis to buy both live dogs and the prepared meat.” He said.
He further stressed that apart from dogs, complementary goods, especially condiments used to prepare delicacies, could be sold in the market, if it is expanded.
At the market, thousands of live dogs were being sold at the market.