Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government of Nigeria has raised concerns over the declining rate of donkeys in the country.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, speaking at the inspection facilities of Earthwheel Logistics Limited over the weekend in Anambra State, made assured of the government’s determination to introduce measures to stem the exportation of donkeys.
“I came here today 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 species and animals that may likely go into extinction. And in Nigeria our donkey stock is fast declining,” the minister stated.
“So one of the resolutions is that we have to control very strictly donkey exports out of Nigeria. And when the director of the company came and told me that he has made massive investment here by employing hundreds of people, I felt that I should come here today…”
However, the firm’s Managing Director, Destiny Osili, in collaboration with Donkey Skin Processors Marketers and Export Association (DSPA), disagreed with the minister’s assessment of Nigerian donkeys, saying that the country has enough of them, especially with the establishment of “ranches in Bauchi and Jigawa states since 2012, including the mini- ranch in Ufuma.”
Osili appealed for export permits to enable him breed more and export, adding that the permit will enhance trade and allow 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 check and stop these criminals from their dangerous activities,” he said.
DSPA Vice Chairman Ifeanyi Dike solicited support from government in regards to the medicinal value of donkeys.
“Government should assist investors in the donkey business the same way it has supported rice farmers with about N60 billion.
“Donkey skin is very important because of a substance called gelatin or ass-hide glue. It is used as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called ejiao, which now has multiple uses,” he added.