From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Donkey Dealers Association of Nigeria, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to support the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) to regulate the trading of donkey instead of blanket ban which some persons and groups are clamouring for.
The National President of the Association, Dike Ifeanyi while speaking to journalists yesterday in Abuja, said the current N60 billion investment in donkey business risks collapse if the business is banned in the country.
He said the over 4 million jobs created along the donkey value chains would be lost and smugglers of donkey business will 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 remove 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, the same donkey population will deplete because there is no regulatory framework.
“So, the NAQS is like the enforcement arm of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the government should support the NAQS in this particular program because it has yielded benefits and will yield more if there is a robust regulatory framework like it is done in other countries.
“Some countries have built donkey farms, donkey clinics, and people are being employed. If this is done in Nigeria, the number of people that will be employed cannot be imagined. We have 4 million people already that are benefiting from the donkey value chain, if donkey trading is banned, 4 million people will go into hunger”, he said.
He called on President Buhari to support the NAQS to regulate and enforce the regulation of donkey trading so that the government will benefit from the business, and it can attract investment from other countries.
“So, any one calling for a blanket ban on donkey business is also encouraging the smugglers. So we want the government to benefit from this donkey business, N60 billion investments is huge, and this business has been in existence for centuries.
“Let us copy from countries that are benefiting from donkey business because the government needs to benefit from it and for this business to continue in a regulated framework.
“So, we are appealing to the president to use his wisdom to save us from this ban and support the NAQS on regulation of this business,” Ifeanyi added.