THE Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Dr Monday Ubani, has threatened to drag the federal government to court if it makes good its threat to ban ponmo (cow skin), reputed as the poor man’s delicacy.
In a statement signed by the human rights activist, Ubani stated that the local delicacy “is the most common delicacy that is mostly enjoyed by the average citizen due to its affordability, and given that fish, meat and other sources of protein have become very expensive and thus unaffordable by the common man in Nigeria.”
He wondered why Nigerian leaders “derive so much pleasure in inflicting pain and agony on the common man in every aspect of governance,” and queried the rationale behind government’s resolve “to ban one of the very few staples that give the common man joy.
“The truth is that ponmo remains the most constant protein or meat-like substance in the common man’s stew and soups. It therefore beats our imagination that every government in Nigeria has always planned to take away that substance from their dining tables.
“While politicians and rich Nigerians as well as their families enjoy all manner of proteins in their sumptuous and mouth-watering meals that are the envy of the common man, they have become restless and jealous of the only meat-like item that the average citizen chews while eating his ‘meal of affliction.’ Such government pronouncement and planned policy of banning ponmo cannot be fair and just. It is ill-advised and we reject it in its entirety.”
Ubani advised the government to desist from the threat and “ensure that such callous and anti-people policy does not see the light of the day.”
Warning that such ban will be met with stiff opposition, the NBA-SPIDEL helmsman said: “If the federal government fails or refuses to abide by this free advice on the planned illegal ban, they should be prepared for a prolonged legal battle that may end up in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“I shall be prepared to undertake this public interest case on behalf of millions of Nigerians who consider this delicacy too palatable to be taken off their dining tables or better still, dining floors, more so when it remains the only affordable substance that has a semblance of meat or fish in the common man’s meals. A word is enough for the wise.”