Monday Ubani, the head of the Public Interest and Development Law Section of the Nigerian Bar Association, has threatened legal action against the government if it moves to outlaw the use of cowhide (known locally as “ponmo”).
In an effort to rescue the leather sector, the federal government announced that it will outlaw the sale and consumption of ponmo.
Ubani, who is opposed to the plan, released a statement on Wednesday arguing that pnm “is the most common delicacy that is most enjoyed by the average citizen due to its affordability,” especially since “fish, meat, and other sources of protein had become very expensive and thus unaffordable by the common man in the country.”
Ubani questioned the government’s rationale for their action.
“The truth is that pnm remains the most constant protein or meat-like ingredient in the common man’s stew and soups,” he declared. Politicians and the wealthy in Nigeria, whose lavish feasts are the envy of the country’s populace, have grown resentful and envious of the one meaty item that the typical person chews during his “meal of affliction.” Government proclamation and policy to outlaw pnm cannot be fair and just. We disagree with the whole thing, and it’s bad advice.
He warned that the government would face a lengthy judicial battle if the ban were to be declared.
Since it is the only cheap substance that remotely resembles meat or fish in the meals of the common man, I shall be willing 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. “A word for the wise is all that is needed,” he continued.
The government was urged by Ubani to “ensure that such callous and anti-people policy does not see the light of day.”