From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Donkey Dealers Association of Nigeria has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari over the ban of donkeys, stating that the decision will affect value chain worth more than N60 billion.
The National President of the association, Dike Ifeanyi, at a press briefing in Abuja said over 4 million jobs created along the donkey-value chain would be lost and smugglers would take advantage of the ban to do shady business, which the government would not benefit from.
Ifeanyi maintained that if donkey trading is well regulated, both the farmers and the government would benefit, and more jobs would be created through the establishment of more donkey farms, donkey clinics and others as it is done in other countries.
“The president should assist the association to save its N60 billion investment in the donkey-value chain and to support the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) on the regulation of donkey business which is all about control and breeding, which is all about increasing the population of these animals and removing the morbid fear of extinction.
“We are consuming more than 60,000 cows every day, yet cows have not gone extinct because people are breeding them. If you look at the history and experience in this country, you will find out that most of the items that were banned, still find their way into the country.
“Anyone supporting blanket ban on donkey trading is invariably encouraging smugglers, the government is not going to benefit anything from it, and the smugglers will have their way. At the end of the day, the same donkey population will deplete because there is no regulatory framework.”
Noting that NAQS is like the enforcement arm of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Ifeanyi urged the government to support the NAQS in this particular programme, stressing that effort had yielded benefits and would yield more if there was a robust regulatory framework put in place like what obtains in other countries.