Okwe Obi, Abuja
Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) has destroyed a cache of illegally processed export-bound donkey skin worth N42 million in Sheda in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
NAQS explained that it seized the donkey skin during a string of precision raids on underground donkey skin warehouses and slaughter camps across the country, after several warnings.
In a statement released yesterday by the Head of Media, Communications and Strategies, Dr. Gozie Nwodo, the Deputy Comptroller-General of Quarantine, Dr. Sunday Audu said: ”the volume of donkey skin we are destroying today bears witness to the fact that there is an insidious scorched earth war on Nigerian donkeys.
“This public destruction of the illegally processed export-bound donkey skin is meant to send a clear signal to all and sundry that the government will not countenance the overexploitation of Nigerian donkeys.”
Audu added that, ”Nigeria is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. We are bound by our commitment to that protocol to protect endangered species.
“Nigeria was one of the few standing bastions of donkeys on the planet. As such, the onus is on the country to ensure that its local donkey breeds don’t disappear from the face of the earth.
“Donkeys have a unique place in the human story and their existence ought to enjoy continuity in civilization. So we cannot be indifferent to the escalating threat of their overexploitation.
“Overexploitation will drive them to the brink of extinction. And we don’t want Nigerian donkeys to fade into oblivion like dinosaurs.”
He admonished stakeholders in the donkey value chain to do the business the right way and abide by NAQS’ regulations on the standard of acceptable conduct for actors in donkey-related businesses.