Dogs are affectionate, brave, and loyal. In most developed countries, their services are utilized at home and at work. However, the dog has another purpose for some people in Nigeria. That purpose is for consumption. Specifically known for dog meat consumption are the Efik-Ibibio ethnic group.
The Efik-Ibibio reside in the South-South geopolitical zone in Nigeria. Almost all Efik-Ibibio clans and sub-clans are located on river banks or creeks. The cooking prowess of the people is respected throughout the country and is said to be as old as the people themselves. The nutritional culture of the people derives from the rivers that surround them. But they also source for and enjoy meat reared at home or captured in the forests or on the streets.
Why Dog Meat?
One of the delicacies of the Efik-Ibibio is dog meat. Dog meat is generally known in Nigeria as 404. While some people consider the consumption of dog meat as unethical, prohibitive, and forbidden on both religious and social grounds, it is a cultural delicacy in Akwa-Ibom and Cross River states. Aside the consumption of this meat for pleasure or sexual stimulation, there are cultural arguments that support the ingestion of dog meat amongst the Efik-Ibibio. The people ascribe curative and magical powers to it. Some believe that consuming it wards off witchcraft attack, cures malaria, rejuvenates the skin, and bestows supernatural powers on consumers.
Some locals buy live dogs for preparation at the markets in Cross River and Akwa Ibom, while some others catch stray dogs. It is also easy to find joints that specialize in dog meat preparation in the states. It is said that dogs are drawn on the walls or bill boards of such joints. With such blatant advert, patrons cannot pretend ignorance of what they are about to consume.
Meanwhile, the preferred breed of dogs for consumption is the local Nigerian breed which is derogatorily referred to as ekúke. These local breeds are far cheaper than the foreign ones. The fact that some of these dogs may have rabies infestation matters not to consumers. Most of them believe that cooking kills whatever disease an animal may be carrying.
Amongst the Efik-Ibibio, social events like traditional weddings and child dedications are said to be incomplete without 404. Hosts of such occasions could serve all sorts of intercontinental dishes, but consider 404 the icing on the cake. One can safely say that 404 is to the Efik what asun is to the Yoruba.
In conclusion, peppered meat, pepper soup, and white rice are some of the delicacies that can be prepared with dog meat. Consumers also enjoy this meat with beer or palm wine.
Fight Dog Meat
Nigeria Tribune Online
Feature image source: Pulse NG