Acting through the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, (NAQS) of the Ministry of Agriculture, the federal government has said it will protect the remaining population of donkeys within the country from the possible threat of biodiversity loss and extinction.
NAQS Director Olusegun Awoniyi , announced this while reacting to the purported seizure of over 2,000 processed donkey skins worth over N80 million from the donkey skin processing centers of the Dried Meat Preservers Association of Nigeria (DMPAN).
The global population of donkeys has suffered a collapse over the past decade. This has inspired conservationist efforts to promote their welfare and safeguard against their extinction in Nigeria since the country is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
To curtail the extinction, the government previously prohibited donkey skin export. However, despite the prohibition, a considerable number of donkey skin transactions remained afoot in various parts of the country.
Ikechukwu Aniude, chairman, of the DMPAN Onitsha branch and the association’s spokesman in Anambra State, alleged that particular group of people wanted to hijack their business through the NAQS.
Farmersmanual gathered that members of the association across the country have demanded explanations from the federal government for the NAQS invasion of their donkey skin processing camps, and the seizure of their goods nationwide.
Awoniyi said the move is part of Government’s policy to regulate the sale of donkey skin in order to curb the over-exploitation of the trade and that it is now a criminal offense for anybody to kill “work animals” and trade their skins.
He emphasized that Nigeria has received memos from many countries discouraging the slaughter of donkeys for trade, adding that apart from Nigeria, numerous countries have placed a ban on this practice.