These 8 (roadside) street foods in Nigeria can kill you – Dr Olufunmilayo

Popularly called roadside foods, these are the list of street foods in Nigeria that can cause you serious harm

1. Beware of some roadside shawarma.

2. Beware of rice/beans from women selling at roadside beside open gutters.

3. Beware of drinking random “icewater” from unknown source.

4. Dirty fruits sold by abokis.

5. Unclean roadside meat suya.

6. Improperly cooked chicken suya.

7. Amala joints with dirty bowls filled with stinking water and houseflies everywhere.

8. Ewa agoyin sold in places that look like a poultry.

Please for your own good,

Stay away from such places.

My doctor friends in Lagos hospitals are noticing very terrible tummy infections that are killing people.

Many of you are more worried about the clothes you wear than the things that go inside your tummy. You will wear clean clothes that are well ironed then go and eat amala in a place where there’s absolutely no hygiene.

You are playing with your life taking such a dangerous risk.

Thankfully, for most people who have no underlying medical illnesses that make their immune system weak, most people can actually fight off many of the dangerous infections we get from this unsanitary places.

So we have no idea what our bodies have done for us.

But there’s always those few people and few cases where a bad bacteria hits the tummy/gut, and a serious infection sets in. The person may develop very severe diarrhea, high fever, blood in stool and in a matter of just a few days, can be dead. These things actually happen.

So as a summary: Am I saying you should never eat anything from the roadside? Clearly not. But am I saying you should be careful about what you eat from the roadside? Absolutely yes.


And do not make it an everyday ritual.

It is dangerous.

Some of you cannot sleep well at night without shawarma. You will have nightmares and wake up depressed because the shawarma guy closed early. Please be careful, Those things are meant to be “snacks”, and not “food”.

You shouldn’t be eating it on a daily basis- even if hygienic.

Now what makes matters worse is many of these roadside things we relish and cherish are largely unhygienic, unsanitary and unsafe for consumption- let alone a daily routine of eating them.

Street foods in Nigeria
Street foods in Nigeria.

Please prioritise your health, and be wise about what you buy and what you eat outside.

So what’s the way forward? CUT DOWN on eating out. And if you have to, please buy food and snacks from hygienic places. Wash fruits before eating them. Wash your hands before and after eating.

Ask where the “ice water” comes from- and don’t just drink any water served in a cup.

Look at that amala plate before they serve your food inside. If it is dirty, ask for another plate or walk away if they say no.

Look at the suya before it is wrapped in a newspaper. If it looks unhygienic, don’t buy it. If it looks improperly cooked, ask that it is cooked again.

Look at the fruits before it is packed in a nylon bag for you. If some of them are spoilt, reject it.

Check it properly- they won’t beat you if you say no to a spoilt or unhygienic fruit.

It is your money- the minimum you can do is spend it on something that will not harm you.

If the corn too burnt, wait for a properly roasted one. If you can’t wait, walk away. You won’t die if you don’t eat corn that day.

If the cucumber is not fresh/healthy, don’t buy it. Look elsewhere.

Except you have other plans for the cucumber, you don’t have to buy a bad one.

I can’t properly mention every form of risky roadside food- but you get the point. I hope you do. Safety and sanity is the message.

Buy from safe places and safe hands. And be sane about what you put in your tummy.

This can be a life saving decision you are making.

Thank you.

Credit: Dr Olufunmilayo


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