James Emejo in Abuja
The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) yesterday said it has safely incinerated and disposed a cache of illegally processed export-bound donkey skin worth N42 million in Sheda, Abuja.
The NAQS stated that it seized the donkey skin, which were export bound during a string of precision raids on underground donkey skin warehouses and slaughter camps across the country.
The raids, which were carried out with a detachment of men of the Nigerian Police from the Force Animal Branch (FAB), followed several unheeded warnings to the operators to shut down those warehouses and stop the decimation of Nigerian donkeys.
In a statement by Head of Media, Communications and Strategies, NAQS, Dr. Gozie Nwodo, the agency noted that the exploitation of the Nigerian donkeys has to be in line with the imperative of restocking the national herd population.
The Coordinator of the Operations, 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 said that Nigeria is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species as well as bound by its commitment to protect endangered species. “Nigeria is 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.”