If you are fed up with life, wish to become diseased and die young or early, come and live near the Lagos Abattoir. Located on the Old Abeokuta Road in Agege Area of Lagos, it was meant to be a central slaughter house for cows and other animals in Lagos. When these animal are killed under hygienic conditions, their meat is transported in special vanes to different beef markets in Lagos. The waste products of this operation would thereafter be discarded, also as done world-wide hygienically, as in modern abattoir. In time, this abattoir became one of the biggest job providers and gold mines of business in an otherwise squalid Lagos suburb where the average school leaver once aspired to become no more than a sub-urban bus conductor. But somewhere along the line, the dreams of the founding fathers derailed. Modern machines are no longer used for the operations. It is either that the operators found them culturally unsuitable for their work, or too sophisticated for them to handle, or that, characteristic of the Nigerian business psyche, these machines were not well maintained, broke down, were abandoned, and the operators resorted to self-help at their own level of technology. I wish to speak about only one of the operations, and to wander why the government of Lagos State is pretending that the crudeness of this operation is not endangering the health of people who live near the abattoir.
When I raised the later point at a small discussion group which was trying to find a solution to the health hazards that the abattoir was creating, someone with a legal mind told us about volenti non fit injuria. In Latin, this means it is impossible for a sensible person to injure himself or herself. It is a legal platform for a journalist sued for libel or defamation to defend himself or herself. If the person complaining before a judge about a publication voluntarily provided the information which led to his or her injury, what moral rights has he or she, indeed, to successfully claim damage(s). ? So, as this gentleman reasoned, if the abattoir is providing the government of Lagos State fabulous tax income every day, and some top officials of the Government have interest in the abattoir, wouldn’t it be better to look the other way and let sleeping dogs lie?
WHAT I am about to say should infuriate or annoy millions of people in Lagos and other parts of the country, and save their lives. It is all about Ponmo (Yoruba) or cow skin.
Ponmo (Cow Skin)
As a boy, I looked forward to the day my stepmother would cook ponmo in Egusi (melon) soup. I do not remember now if the white ponmo or the brown was the more exciting to the palate. It was difficult then to tell the difference between them. Even now, I can only guess that the white is a purveyor of white fat cells, which do not burn easily, increasing the load of body fat, and the brown, the more thermogenic, which, in the body, burns easily on its own irrespective of exercise or any other physical activity. As a young man, I learned that the consumption of animal skin was dangerous to health. In Europe, India and the United States, where health awareness is more robust than in Africa, the skin of fish or chicken is removed and discarded before the fish is eaten. If fish skin, as flimsy as it is, can be considered dangerous to health, how more dangerous would animal skin be, thick as it is, sometimes thicker than the thumb? Some of my fears are conformed by Dr. Isuwa Adamu, director-general, Nigerian Institute of Leather Science and Technology (NILEST) who is quoted in Vanguard as saying “animal skin can be suffused with disease-causing germs, chemicals and other toxic substances.”
The thought that many animals have skin diseases and the fact that toxic drugs used to cure them have not expired their life spans before these animals are slaughtered are enough to deter anyone from eating it. But more worrying should be the way ponmo is cured in Nigeria before it is sold in the market. The Lagos Abattoir, animal skin is burned in a heap of tyres set ablaze, presumably with kerosene or petrol or diesel. The bonfire yields a thick toxin smoke which, in billows, spread out to various neighborhoods, poisoning people who inhale the air. Tyre bonfire are a menace in the United States. The experience of Americans should be a warning to us. We do not have to invent the wheel in this regard, as they say. We are helped in this in http://lexbirahviewsoftheworld.com, we are advised in the article KILLER BLACK SMOKE, WHAT BURNNG TYRES REALLY DOES:
“I have heard enough of this tyre burning now and so too has every-ore I have spoken to. Black plumes of smoke cover the skyline day and night trying to vain to scare people away. But it’s not the tyres that scares me more the after effects of all the toxic fumes we are inhaling. Do you know they are over two gallons (seven liters) of petroleum and oil in one tyre alone, numerous chemicals, including chlorine, styrene, butadiene and more than 20 different heavy metals. I was stunned to learn this. Styrene and Butadiene are both suspected of causing cancer, the extender contain carcinogenic Benzene, derivations and the metals like lead, chromium, cadmium and mercury don’t even burn away, they just get released into the atmosphere as fragrant ash. Tyre smoke contains high levels of toxic heavy metals, 407 percent more Chromium, 372 percent more lead, and 1448 percent more Arsenic, than coal, and the Carbon black is a fine particulate matter produced by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, now that’s scary. “So, having learned that mush, I then continued with my research and found that Dioxin, which are by-product of Chlorine, once released into the air, can travel long distances before settling onto the soil, water, plants and animals, miles away from the fore source sometimes, where it remains and becomes absorbed. “Dioxin does not break down. It just accumulates in the fatty tissues of animals (and humans) that consume the contaminated vegetation, meat, chickens and decay products. In humans, these dioxins can lead to reproductive impairment, development injuries and increase and an increase in the risk of diabetes. The Canadian Contario Ministry of Environment and Energy (MOEE) carried out a survey in 1991 on a tyre fire site and noted that contamination was seen in vegetables growing 100 to 200 meters away from the site and, furthermore, it remained in the soil 200 days after the fire. ‘Now the heavy metals that I spoke about earlier, and 20 different ones do not break down either, and so, they, too, build up into an alarming concentration level within the soils. They reduce crop yield and eventually destroy lots of agricultural land. The side effects to human exposure to these toxins in our food chain can lead to serious health conditions. Lead poisoning destroys human nervous systems, can cause retardation, learning difficulties, bone narrow deficiencies and stunned growth in children. Zinc can cause birth defects, Chromium and Arsenic cause cancer. When the fire is burning, we expect the smoke plume to contain hazardous substance, not did you know that, even when the fire is cooling down, it still releases other poisons and the Benzene produced in this process, once inhaled, ingested or touched will lead to symptoms such a dizziness, euphoria, giddiness, headache, nausea, weakness, drowsiness, respiratory irritation, pulmonary edema, pneumonia and skin, eyes and mucous membrane irritation. Smells like sulphur occur when tyres are being burned. But it is the odourless gas, Carbon monoxide that worries me the most. When this is unknowingly inhaled, it interfere with the transfer of Oxygen in human tissues and leads to CO (Carbone Monoxide). This can be extremely dangerous and sufferers experience nausea and dizziness, but if not realized quickly enough people collapse into Coma and then die.
“Now if one burnt tyre contains seven liter of petroleum and untold mount of toxins, how much is released into our atmosphere every time someone decides he wants to set off a road block with a tyre fire of, maybe, 10 tyres or more in one go? What becomes airborne after rioters have thrown hundreds of petrol bombs at the police or setting fires to gas cylinders? The website http://lexbirchviewoftheworld.com has more information to give us, which makes robust our understanding of what the Lagos Abattoir is doing to our health. Now, many Youngman and women who go to enjoy themselves at their favourite joints where they “chill” out eat lots of ponmo which they wash down with their favourite drinks. Believing that they are civilized people eating civilized food, they do not know that their ponmo is poisoned by tyre fire smoke. Dr. N.W. Walker Speaks of such people in a cell (Tissue) Cell salt therapy which he wrote about in a healthy and damaged colon chart when he says:
“For the guidance, benefits and use by colon irrigation and lavage establishment operators, and for the education of the layman. Civilized life means and artificial life; civilized people, living in a civilized manner and eating civilized foods, cannot, in every nature of things, have truly HEALTH COLON. Health and sickness have their roots in the COLON.
In www.lesspollution.org/learn.html, we learn of 15 good reasons why tyre fire is dangerous to health. It says the pollutants place children especially at risk, as small particles settle in the lungs. When breast milk is contaminated by them, the poisons are transferred to breast-feeding babies. Even fetuses are not spared. The elderly and asthmatics come under fire. So are people with lowered immunity. Heart problems may escalate.
Now, I speak through the experiences of some families who live in the catchment area of the Lagos Abattoir tyre fire smoke. Around this abattoir are beautiful housing estates such as Millennium Estate, Oke Oba GRA scheme 1, Maplewood Estate, sunshine Estate, Awoniyi Estate, Labak Estate e.t.c many estate families are “dead” asleep when the tyre-burning begins at about 3am. Some members of the family are woken up from deep sleep, choking or coughing. All the bedrooms are infiltrated. The air is rotten, smelling decay of fragrant. Electric fans may help a little. Air conditioners help out. Some come out of their flats for fresh air but discover they fare no better. I know of someone who is woken from sleep and finds his room so darkened that he can hardly see the electric lamps in the ceiling. What of people who smell the pollution in their kitchens? How will they cook without these particles falling on their food? Some people lurmy out of their homes in the mornings but return at about 9pm or 10pm to find the air thickened again with tyre fire smoke. Apparently Ponmo sellers at the Lagos Abattoir cure the cow skin with tyre fire about two or three times a day, the premium time being in the night. My friend, George Uberg, a health-conscious fellow who lives somewhere on Iju Road says it is a “terrible experience”. Advised him to wear a nose guard, day and night, take Orange peel powder to detoxify regularly.
So does Diatom.
So does Cilantro.
So does Chlorella
Which chelate heavy metals and other toxins out of the blood. Where breathing is affected, orange Peel powder taken with water, juices or meals help. Someone told me of a recipe for kidney cleanse the other day. It is a vegetables the Yoruba call Efo ebolo. When I searched for the popular English name, what I got was Yoruban bilogi. It is macerated and boiling water is poured over it in a container. When the infusion is cool enough to drink, it is served and taken, says this fellow who calls himself Bush Sense or Bush Doctor. This recipe complement our regular kidney cleansers and tonics such as Bell’s Kidney Cleanse and function Tea, Nettle, Yarrow, Water melon seed tea, Kidney Rescue, Dandelon e.t.c.
Blood cleansers are indispensable. So are nerve building tonics. The liver should not be forgotten. Burdock root should be added to a compendium of herbs which should include Milk thistle and Liver Balance among others. If I find myself menaced by the Lagos Abattoir, I would design a regimen for the night hours which would place antioxidants on guard in my system day and night. Meanwhile, why have both the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) not come to the rescue of the neighborhoods of this abattoir since many of the residents do not even know the danger in which they live. LASEPA and FEPA appear to be slow organizations. In the 1980s, when I was Editor of the Guardian, The Science Editor, Mr. Seun Ogunseitan, who discovered the KOKO toxic waste dump, wrote an article saying that underground water in Ijesha area of Lagos was polluted by heavy metals to the tune of more than 3,000% above world health organization (WHO) safety levels. More frightening was his suggestion that no Nigeria water works systems had a device to remove heavy metals from drinking water. In other words people who leaved in Ijeshatedo area of Lagos continue to drink heavy metals polluted water with the risk of developing cancer and other terrible degenerative diseases. Last week, however, that is about 30 years after, LASEPA announced publicly that it had tested underground water in wells in 20 Local Government Area of Lagos State and found all heavily polluted with heavy metals. That means that, if there is steel no device to remove heavy metals from water (boiling does not do it, it only worsens it by concentrating them), it would mean that all the “pure” water we drink in Lagos, and all the bottled water too, have heavy metals inside them. These is frightening especially as there may be a correlation between these sources of drinking water and a massive growth in the rate of cancer in Lagos State. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode should act immediately. Formal Governor Babatunde Fashola wanted to relocate the Abattoir from Agege but it could not before he vacated power to Ambode. Nevertheless, he tried to sanitized the operation and he extracted land from the abattoir area for a beautiful housing estate which the Government may be unable to sell because of the menace of abattoir.