…wants Nigerians to establish donkey ranches, breeding centres
…says donkey skin for export remains banned
By Gabriel Ewepu and Bernard Ozuanu
THE National Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS, Wednesday, disclosed the arrest of Chinese nationals over illegal trading in donkey skin.
This was made known by the Comptroller General, NAQS, Dr Vincent Isegbe, during a press conference held at headquarters of the agency in Abuja.
Isegbe maintained that the ban on export of donkey skin remains and warned that Nigerians and foreigners involved would face full wrath of the law.
He said: “Concerning this donkey predicament it is important to know that Nigerian donkey is going into extinction, the population has gone down drastically, and the slaughter of donkey is bad.
“The law is against it, the slaughter, transportation, storage it and the trade in donkey hides, and in the same manner you cannot import any wet, dry or blue hides of livestock into Nigeria and you cannot export it.
“So, you need the necessary clearance from government if you are going to do otherwise and government will not give you that permission.
“So it is clear. It is clearly against the NAQS Act, the Customs prohibition list and the Nigeria Disease Control Act.
“So there is no reason why any Nigerian or foreigner should be engaged in this illegal trade. We are aware that there are camps for slaughtering of donkey across the country. The Quarantine Service have visited several of those camps, confiscated materials and destroyed them accordingly.
“However we regret to announce that some Nigerians and even foreigners have continued despite government directives that no one should be involved.
“As I am talking to you now, some Chinese persons have been arrested in respect of that and they are in police custody. The necessary investigations are going on and the outcome you will know at the end of the day.
“It is banned and it remains banned. I would not encourage anybody to enter into the trade anybody that does contrary to that the person will face the full wrath of the law.”
He also called on Nigerians to go into donkey ranching and breeding instead of engaging in the illicit trade.
“We encourage Nigerians not to raise any new camps. Rather, we are asking those who are involved in donkey trade to open donkey ranches, breeding centers or farms.
“We had a meeting in September last year. We brought in all the donkey dealers from the south we had a full day with them we discussed, a week later we called in the donkey dealers from the north and we had a very good session discussing with them.
“We laid bare government directives, and intention concerning the matter and it is expected that no one should be engaged in this trade”, he said.
He also pointed that most African countries have banned export of donkey skin from their countries, and why should Nigeria allow that, which he vowed that the agency will not allow the illicit trade to thrive in Nigeria.
“The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service will not and not support it. So if we do anything that will disrupt the donkey population, the ecosystem will be affected. At the same time the population will be depleted and the animals will go into extinction”, he added.