Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government has raised the alarm over the declining population of donkeys in the country.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who said this during inspection of facilities of Earthwheel Logistics Limited, at the weekend, in Anambra State, assured of government’s determination to introduce measures to stem exportation of donkeys.
He said: “I came here because of the importance we attach, as government, to this donkey-breeding programme. I presided over a meeting where we resolved that every country that is serious will preserve some of its specie and animals that may likely go into extinction. And, in Nigeria, our donkey stock is fast declining.
“So, one of the resolutions is that we have to control, very strictly, donkey exports. And when the director of the company came and told me he has made massive investment here by employing hundreds of people, I felt I should come here today, not only by myself, but with the fullness of our team, with the relevant officers.”
Regardless, the firm’s Managing Director, Destiny Osili, in collaboration with Donkey Skin Processors Marketers and Export Association (DSPA), disagreed with the Minister, when he stressed that the country has enough of donkeys, especially with its establishment of “ranches in Bauchi and Jigawa states since 2012, including the mini- ranch in Ufuma.”
Osili further appealed for export permits, to enable him breed more and export, adding that the permit will enhance trade and make the firm become foreign exchange earners in line with government policy.
“The permit will enable us pay our workers numbering 220 and put an end to the activities of smugglers slaughtering these donkeys in an unaccountable manner.
“With that legal backing, we can help the ministry checkmate and stop these criminals from their dangerous activities,” he said.
DSPA Vice Chairman, Ifeanyi Dike, solicited support from government because of donkey’s medicinal value.