By Okeoghene Akubuike
The National Park Service and National Environmental Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA) have warned against the consumption of bushmeat.
The Conservator of Park (CP), Dr Abdulrahman Mohammed, disclosed this on the sidelines of a sensitisation campaign to Gosa Market, Airport Road, in Abuja.
The two agencies had embarked on joint sensitisation campaign against bushmeat consumption to some markets in the FCT
Mohammed said the purpose of the campaign was to educate people on zoonotic disease, especially the vendors of bushmeat on the dangers it posed to the heath of humans.
He said zoonoses is a disease that could be transmitted from animal to humans and vice versa.
Mohammed said there were many zoonotic diseases that originate from wildlife, that is the bushmeat people consume, such as tuberculosis, Ebola and currently Corona Virus had been traced to wildlife.
“The main objective of our outing is to sensitise the public to the significance of zoonoses.
“It is a disease that can be transmitted from man to animal or animal to human and to some extent they have been traced to bushmeat.
“We are here to educate the public, those that are into it, the vendors of bushmeat to avoid it.
“We said we should come to those joints and spots to educate them because the hunters just kill these animals and the lifeless bodies are brought in for them, and they bought.
“Before they process for selling, the vendors are the first contact and the disease is spread through contact and the disease keeps spreading from humans to even domestic animals. So that is why we are here.”
He said the campaign would be continuous and the first target was Kuje and Abuja Municipal Area Councils.
Mohammed, however, said funding was needed to continue to support the exercise.
He advised the general public to avoid buying bushmeat as the best option to avoid the disease.
“As I said they should avoid buying the bushmeat, like I said to the vendors.
“The best option is to avoid it, that is my best advice to the public.
A Bushmeat seller, Madame Christiana , who spoke with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) thanked the organisers of the programme and promised to abide by the rules.
“What I will do is to abide by the rules . If I want to buy the bushmeat I will know how to buy it as they have enlightened us.
“I will tell my customers to obey the social distancing when they come to buy.”
Mr Josiah Goni, Chairman of the market, thanked the the National park and NESREA, adding that he was impressed with the programme.
Goni noted that many of the traders did not believe there is coronavirus, saying “but I am sure they have learnt today that it is real.”
He said he would further sensitise other traders that the virus is real and they should comply with the safety guidelines.(NAN)