The sale of wildlife for meat continues in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, despite calls for a ban on wildlife markets by the United Nation biodiversity office.
At Olowu market in Epe, one of the most popular wildlife markets in the city, wild animals are still on sale on a daily basis.
The traders insist wildlife meat is safe despite fears that a wildlife market in Wuhan, China, could have been where the coronavirus outbreak started.
This reporter saw large cane rats – popularly called grass cutters, snakes, antelopes, hedgehogs, monitor lizards, crocodiles and even pangolins on sale.
The market is a bustling riverside trading centre with wooden stalls.
But the traders say there has been a lull in sales in recent months because of government’s coronavirus restrictions.
In Nigeria, wildlife markets are known as bushmeat markets and many traders at Olowu market have been selling wildlife for decades.
“Before this coronavirus we sold up to 100 different animals in a day. But now we barely sell more than 20 in a day,” said Lateefat Olowu, who had traded in wildlife meat for more than 20 years.
A spokesperson for the Lagos governor said there is no policy in place to ban wildlife markets.