Beef traders in Ogun and Lagos states on Friday disregarded the “Anything But Cow Day Campaign” launched by some Yoruba elders in response to the blockade of food items from the Northern region of the country to the South.
SahararaReporters had reported that the campaign would be launched by the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere; activist, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho; the Are Ona Kankanfo, Iba Gani Adams; and the Oodua Peoples Congress.
But visits to some abattoirs and beef markets on Friday showed a lack of compliance with the boycott order as they were fully opened.
At the Kara market in the Akute axis of Lagos, butchers and other business dealers were fully operating — except for the limited number of cows for slaughter.
When asked if the “Anything But Cow Day” order had not got to them, a butcher identified simply as Sulaiman, said he and his colleagues had not heard about such.
He said: “What's that? They mean we should not sell beef? Do they want us to die of hunger? For over a week now, our business has been slow and we know the impact of this on our families. Things were very uncertain but now that the embargo has been lifted, some sets of persons said we shouldn't sell? That's absolute nonsense!”
Sulaiman stated that even now that the strike has been called off, the cost of a cow is still outrageous.
Corroborating Sulaiman’s claim, Tunde, another butcher, said as of Friday, the cost of one cow was N700, 000 – a sharp increase from what it used to be.
According to him, on Friday morning, there was a clash at the borders which delayed the movement of the cows to their markets.
He said, “There was a clash at the borders, they didn't allow the trucks to come in. Even today, there was a fight among traders and military men. Why are we just slaughtering cows at this time? It's already noon and we are just slaughtering a cow. On a normal day, we start our jobs in the morning but since the beginning of this week, it has been different.”
Asked if he had heard of the campaign, he quipped, “What is 'Anything But Cow Day'? Who organised it? We have not heard anything like that.
“By the time we join in the campaign, how will our families eat? Which one is 'Anything But Cow Day'? Is it only beef that was stopped from coming in? They should launch a campaign against the consumption of tomatoes, pepper, and every other food item that couldn't come in from the North?”
Another butcher said jokingly, “Don't you know that some people may not survive if they do not eat beef in a day? On a serious note, some people have mastered cooking with different types of meat, especially beef. With the way they garnish the food with beef, you'll think that is the only thing they cook.
“If only they knew how the strike affected butchers and even people's livelihoods, they would find a lasting solution to whatever issue the North has with the South. We are all dependent on one another. As long as we remain one Nigeria, the South will always need the North and the North will always need the South. It's as simple as that.”
He stated that the butchers have been told that there will be an end to the scarcity of beef by next Monday.
Aside from the boycott of the campaign by beef sellers, it also had no significant engagement on social media. It was expected that hashtags such as #EndCOWVID-21 would trend on Twitter.
But SaharaReporters observed that the Twitter hashtag, #endcowpandemic.org, did not trend as expected though it had been used by some people for some days now.
This was despite the fact that some users had earlier drummed support for the campaign while vowing to promote it using the necessary hashtags on the scheduled date.
Demolapraise @demolapraise2 had earlier tweeted, “Southerners can survive without north but northerner can never survive without southerners. #endcowpandemic.”
Dipo Dairo @desaintsoul, “I hear we are to boycott beef (aka cow meat) from tomorrow 5th March 2021...#NOBEEFDAY #ANYTHINGBUTBEEF #ENDCOWVID21 #ENDCOWCONSUMPTION #NOMORENÒMÒ #EndCowPandemic.”
Arinze Chukwu @Arinzecom1981, “I think the #endcowpandemic campaign starting on Friday, will yield more positive results for Southerners than the #EndSARS protest. At least Fulanis can now discover that human beings are more important than their #cows which is not even the healthiest meat to consume.”
@itsteebleeze tweeted, “This is the main road linking many communities in Ifo Ogun state. I read about the #SouthWest governors who had banned open grazing but clearly, they have no authority even in their states. #endcowpandemic #EndSarsNow.”
@orekeatinukee said, “Before today, Southerners didn't eat cows and tomatoes from the North...we have ours and we can survive without the North. Please let the strike continue while we continue with #endcowpandemic, afterwards, we will move onto regionalisation or total breakup. We will all be fine.”
@Lasheun2 had written, “End CowVid-21. #EndCowPandemic. They have just only opened our eyes in the South via the silly blockage of food items from the North.”