In Nigeria Suya, Kilishi Sellers, eaters snub WHO’s cancer warning

In Nigeria Suya, Kilishi Sellers, eaters snub WHO’s cancer warning

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 2:34 pm

Femi Adi/Kaduna



Sellers of Suya and Kilishi as well as consumers in Kaduna state, north west Nigeria have trashed Monday’s  warning by an agency of the World Health Organisation, linking processed meat with colorectal cancer.

Suya and Kilishi are meat products that are popular with Nigerians.

This morning, both the sellers and the buyers are united in denouncing the report and have vowed to continue meat consumption and processing.

The WHO report said  about 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide can be attributed to diets that are high in processed meat and defined processed meat as any type of meat that is salted, cured or smoked to enhance its flavor or preserve it.

But Mohammed Rabiu, a Suya maker disagreed with the report. His family has been in the business for 120 years, he said.

He insisted that processed meat such as Suya, Kilishi and shredded meat, popularly known as Dambu Nama have not been proven in Nigeria to be harmful to health by   causing cancer to consumers.

He said as a  seller, he  massively consumes  kilishi and other processed meat and he claimed  he has never heard of any consumer diagnosed with cancer or dying of cancer.

He said the WHO report sounds  out-of-sort and  expressed hope  that it would not discourage consumers from buying processed meat in Nigeria.

Another Kilishi seller on Jos Road, Kaduna , Alhaji Ibrahim Muhammadu Maikilshi described the report as a “Pure Propaganda “geared towards discouraging the consumption of processed meat .

Maikilishi said, ” I agree that too much red meat at old age is harmful, but certainly not mere consuming processed  meat that well is cooked and roasted”.

Abdullahi Baba is 63 years old. He sells Suya at Ungwar Shanu, also in Kaduna.

According to him, as far he is concerned  Nigerians  should not be disturbed about the report because  the  research was done outside Nigeria.

He said the report can only be accepted if WHO send its medical experts and researchers to Nigeria , particularly the northern area to confirm the veracity or otherwise of the report , before generalising that  processed or roasted meat, such as  Suya is harmful to health.

“I have been selling suya for more 40 years here at Ungwar Shanu and most of my customers except the very old that have died naturally ate suya regularly , so where did WHO get its report from?”.

A consumer of Kilishi , Rabo Liman said that Nigerians shouldn’t bother  about the WHO report because every human being must die of either a disease or old age.

” And since death is a necessity , I don’t think we should worry over a certain good  food that can kill”. Liman posited.

A Kaduna based medical doctor , Dr. Silas Kaffi urged meat consumer to be cautious. “Instead of kicking against it , Nigerians should  take precaution until confirmed otherwise”, he advised.

Although he acnowledged past  researches that have linked high consumption of red meat with cancer, he said  it has not been established that processed meat such as Suya and Kilishi can cause cancer in Nigeria.

Read the WHO Report here; IARC Press Statement


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