September 5, 2017

Calabar women’s love potion Kop Nno Mi

Calabar women’s love potion Kop Nno Mi

Dr Edem Eniang performing tortoise dance.

By Emmanuel Unah

CALABAR—FOLKTALES  overflow about the tortoise, a land-dwelling animal in the order of Testudines, vis-à-vis storing its wisdom in its shell, stirring the ancient Roman military and the dramatic race between it and the hare, where inventiveness and underhandedness (rather than doggedness) were employed to overawe a sturdier opponent.

However, not this Cross River State-spurned myth that the longest living animal in the world and commonly secluded carnal with propensities to be crepuscular, depending on the ambient temperatures, is primed as a seductive love potion, Kop nno mi, by Calabar women to induce men. Kop nno mi is extraordinary and popular among Calabar women because it is fabled to have powers to hold and control the man to do the wish of the woman.

Esuk Mbak girls performing tortoise dance.

Danger of extermination

Amazingly, the animal practically inexistent in the wooded areas of the state is curiously handy in large numbers at most markets in and around Calabar. At the Watt, Marian, Aningeje, Anor and Oban markets, traders load tortoises in sacks for sale to women and others, who struggle for the animal to cook the celebrated love tantaliser.  

The tortoise, which characteristically is patient, sluggish, harmless and weak, recoils easily and endures adverse circumstances for long periods, it is the excellent material for the preparation of kop nno mi love brew. One obstacle, however, is that the tortoise is facing annihilation. Their numbers have depleted significantly such that the cost of the average tortoise has gone up and forests where they used to be harvested in huge quantities have been destroyed killing off the cherished tortoise.

Dr Edem Eniang performing tortoise dance.

Save tortoise campaign: Interestingly, a nongovernmental organization, Biodiversity Preservation Centre, in a bid to preserve the animal for future, undertook a journey to the Esuk Mbak forests in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the state, where a reasonable number of tortoise species still exit to preach the message of safeguarding the animal for future generations.

Addressing women, young girls and men that gathered at the Esuk Mbak town hall, Director of centre, Dr. Edem Eniang, disclosed that tortoise is a valuable animal to the ecosystem because it is a good scavenger that feeds on decayed materials on land and water and, thereby purifying the environment and should, therefore, be preserved for upcoming age groups.

His words: “Stop using the tortoise for kop nno mi because that love potion does not work. Even if it works, at the rate you people use this animal for love mixture, very soon, you will not see any tortoise again and future generations will not know what the animal looks like.”

Amidst dance, drama and song renditions in honour of the ubiquitous tortoise, he told the community that with the support oftheCritical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, his NGO “is seeking to conserve the remaining tortoises in the forest of the community so that many of them will not continue to end in the soup pots for love potion.”

He said,”You can eat the chicken, mushroom and snail, but leave the tortoise alone to help disperse trees for us and clean the environment. The number of tortoises left in the area would be ascertained in the next 12 months after pitfalls have been created in the forests to trap the animal and take a survey of how many are left.”