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The Pressure Of Cooking A Long Distance Traveled Cow From Kano To Lagos As Gas Prices Spiral

The Oasis Reporters

October 22, 2021

By Tèmítáyò Fábùnmi

When cooking gas option spirals out of reach.

One dish I cook very well, if I may toot my horn, is slow-cooked beef in cream sauce. If I am hosting people and I want to play it safe, but I don’t want a chicken or fish dish, then it’s my signature beef dish to the rescue.

It worked well in England and worked quite well until recently. First, I moved back to Nigeria, a country literally floating on 206.53 trillion standard cubic feet as proven gas reserves or deposits as at June 2021 according to Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR.


As at 2017, Nigeria held 187 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves, ranking 9th in the world and accounting for about 3% of the world’s total natural gas reserves of 6,923 Tcf. Nigeria has proven reserves equivalent to 306.3 times its annual consumption according to a piece of information from worldometers.

Actually, much of it is flared, just so for the crude oil reliant economy to reach the black gold.


Some of these cows start their long trek from Mali to either Sokoto or Kano in Nigeria, before commencing another 1,200km long journey to Lagos.

On getting back to Nigeria, I realised that the cow that has been made to walk all the way from Kano to Lagos cannot be as tender as an Angus, found in England. So I shopped around for beef and butchers, until I came across one lovely butcher in Ikoyi whose prices were better than my previous butcher at Sandgrouse Market, Lagos Island.

Even then, “nama pass nama”, as we say in Nigerian slang. It still required some serious tenderisation before it could be used for my cooking.

Then the Buhari economy came knocking. The price per kilo of beef has since gone up by about 40%. So where previously, I’d go out and buy 10kg topside, 10kg this and 10kg that, the order got scaled back. All that pulled beef sandwich that somebody in my house likes has been dropped off the menu.

But my problem is not the price of beef.
It’s the slow-cooking.

Normally, I’ll leave the beef on a slow boil endlessly until it’s melt-in-your mouth or slide-of-the-bone soft. That means gas, burning it for a few hours – and that is where the Buhari Economics is not smiling. Damn. That thing has outperformed the Nigerian Stock Exchange in the last 12 months.

So here we are with food prices compelling one to cut one’s coat according to the fabric available, then the double whammy of cooking fuel has strolled into the kitchen, with an annoying swagger. The gas to even cook the food has thus shot through the roof.

Okay, this sounds like the whingeing of a privileged man who cooks beef in cream sauce. However the problem is the same, whether you are cooking beans, shaki or groundnuts (there is a reason why boiled peanuts is pricey, now like an organ transplant). Food inflation is mad – 19% YoY, consumer prices are 17% higher than a year ago. The budget for next year is even looking more dire.

We are all being slowly driven down the Maslow Hierarchy towards subsistence and safety needs. Heck, #EndSARS was about safety, but that was violently suppressed. So now, we are scrambling at the physiological end of the pyramid to keep air, food and water.

May Nigeria “sawseed” – as we wait for the Dangote Refinery.

Abeg, where can I buy a pressure cooker?

Tèmítáyò Fábùnmi is a banker. Worked at The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in Japan. He speaks Japanese, English, Yoruba and Nigerian pidgin.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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