After Reading This, You Will Be Able To Decide If You Are For Or Against Ponmo Getting Banned



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By Oyindamola Akinyemi

Ponmo needs little or no introduction. It is in a class of its own, a class of pride and reverence. It has gained national prominence with no magazine or billboard advert nor TV commercials and social media links.

Let us take a little tour of things and learn more about this “meat impersonator”, and why it has recently become a topic of interest to warrant mention by the Federal government.

Ponmo is basically de-haired and boiled skin of cow. The consumption of cow skin as Ponmo in west Africa countries is believed to have originated among the poor and uneducated South Westerners, who could not afford the price of lean meat. Presently, ponmo consumption is no longer considered as a poor man’s food but a popular delicacy among the rich and elite.

The preparation of Ponmo may take any of two major processes which in turn determine the variety of Ponmo seen in markets today. A look around markets reveals two major varieties of ponmo — the white variety and the brown variety. The preparation of Ponmo starts with the slaughter of the cow. The skin of the carcass is then removed with a sharp knife and any subcutaneous attachment scraped off. Next is the de-hairing process which involves either;

  • Scraping off hair on the fresh cow skin using a sharp razor with the aid of boiled water ; or
  • Burning off of the hair on dried and preserved skin.

In either processes, the de-hairing process is followed by washing of the skin with soap and an iron/wooden sponge. It is during washing that soot or black particles produced during burning are removed.

The de-haired and washed skin is then boiled for a reasonable period to soften the skin. The boiling time varies depending on the skin thickness.

Nutritional Benefits of ponmo

Ponmo has over the years established itself as a substitute for meat and fish, but questions have always risen on the nutritional content of this revered delicacy.

Nutritional analysis of a 40g piece of ponmo gives the following results;

  • Total fat (4g)
  • Polysaturated fat (0g)
  • Monosaturated fat (0g)
  • Total carbohydrates (0g)
  • Trans fat (0g)
  • Trans fat (0g)
  • Saturated fat (1g)
  • Polysaturated fat (0g)
  • Sodium (0mg)
  • Potassium (0mg)
  • Dietary fiber (0g)
  • Sugars (0%)
  • Proteins (0%)
  • Vitamin A (0%)
  • Vitamin C (0%)
  • Iron (0%)
  • Calcium (0%)

Ponmo is completely lacking in ALL nutrients.

The ban on ponmo

The continual existence of ponmo may be threatened by the Federal government’s plan to place a ban on the sale and widespread consumption of the product. This has arisen largely owing to the raising of several issues which have bordered on its nutritional value as well as its indirect role in reducing the supply of hides to cottage industries. This, the FG says, has led to a decline in revenue. Hence, the FG says, “Ponmo cannot run us bankrupt, it must die”

In the face of the increasing demand for ponmo and a decreasing supply of hides and skin to leather-related cottage industries, it has become quite imperative to impose the ban, so says the FG

Be it as it may, the glory days of ponmo are coming to a premature end. No advocate to plead its case. Prayers are on save the “Skin”. For those who have pledged allegiance to the #LetPonmoStay movement, it’s a good thing and sincerely I have to tell you that ponmo will stay for a long time. Even for me too, I’m one of ponmo’s biggest fan.


Writer: Oyindamola Akinyemi was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. Ever since she was a kid she  had this mammoth passion for cooking. Because of this excitement , she challenged herself and learnt how to cook and bake.

Check out her food blog at


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