By Ukpono Ukpong
As part of efforts to sensitize the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) residents on the dangers of zoonotic disease, the National Park Service in partnership with National Environmental Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA) has taken the campaign against bush meat consumption to markets.
Addressing journalists in Abuja during a sensitisation campaign to Gosa Market, Airport Road, at the weekend, Conservator of Park (CP), Dr Abdulrahman Mohammed, said it was imperative to sensitize the people especially the vendors of bush meat on the dangers it poses to the health of humans.
He said: “The main objective of our outing is to sensitise the public on 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 bush meat.
“We are here to educate the public, those that are into it, the vendors of bush, meat to avoid it.
There are whole lists of zoonotic diseases that originate from wildlife that is the bush meat people consume, such as tuberculosis, Ebola and currently the corona virus has been traced to wildlife.
“So 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 buy.
“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.”
Noting that the campaign would be continuous and the first target was Kuje Area Council and AMAC, he also appealed for more funding to support the exercise, Daily Times gathered.
He added: “As I said, they should avoid buying the bush meat, like I said to the vendors.
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As you are processing the meat after buying it for other people to consume, you are the target and you can transfer the disease to your family after processing these meat.
The best option is to avoid it. That is my best advice to the public.” Market Manager, Kuje Area Council, Mr Baba-Aduga Mukailu, commended the National Park and NESREA for bringing such awareness to the people.
He pledged to further sensitise the other traders on the dangers of the virus.
“This thing has been with them for long and cannot be eradicated immediately but will be minimized now, and on my own, I will make contact with them often to till it’s totally eliminated,” he said.