The Akwa Ibom State government has warned its citizens against consuming cow skins. The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Godwin Afangideh, said at a press conference on Sunday in Uyo, the state capital, that the cow skin, often referred to as Ikpa Ebola or Ponmo had being the common cause of cancer and liver problems in the state.
The commissioner, who was represented at the briefing by the Director of Veterinary Services in the state, Dr. Obot Obot, said that the people who patronised cow skin were both exposed to cancer and liver problems as well as diarrhoea and hypertension, due to the high quantity of salt used for its preservation. He also made mention that some of them were not really cow skins but that of donkeys,horses etc.
There are not good for human consumption because of their mode of preservation, as the are being smuggled into the state by some unknown persons which the govt. are still looking out for. “ the skin meat, which is five times thicker than ordinary skin meat, is injected with a toxic substance called formalin used for its preservation. This formalin in the long run is capable of causing cancer and liver problems due to high concentration of salt used for their preservation.”
To identify this he said consumers should look out for those with thick skins with very strong bad odour. The odour persist even after boiling the skins. He charged consumers to avoid them even as the look more attractive than the real cow skins, as few cases recorded has seen consumers suffer diarrhea for days.
He stated that the government had embarked on sensitisation programme to create awareness on the danger of consuming cow skin meat.
“The state government, through the veterinary services directorate of the ministry, has embarked on a sensitisation campaign in some markets in the local government areas to talk to the people about the danger of consuming such meat.
“The veterinary officer, who was in charge of the sensitisation campaign, went to different markets and talked to the people on the imperatives of how to watch out for toxic meat following reports of its importation into the country.
He went further to say there are not linked to the Ebola Virus as it’s only named after it because it was discovered the same year Ebola Virus was discovered.