Donkey Dealers Association (DDA) declared Monday in Abuja that proposed ban on slaughtering of the specie of animal will render about three million Nigerians jobless.
Speaking through their National Chairman, Mr Ifeanyi Dike, at a public hearing on bill seeking for regulation of slaughtering of Donkeys organised by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, the Donkey Dealers said the proposed law will result in loss of business and investments for three million Nigerians.
Dike said outright ban on slaughtering of donkey was not a solution to the envisaged extinction of donkeys in Nigeria.
“We should know that outright blanket ban as proposed by this bill will create some powerful smuggling syndicates who are bent in getting the donkey derivatives for export to China thereby sabotaging the economy.
“The blanket ban on donkey killing and export of its derivatives as a result of morbid fear of its extinction has failed to realise that regulation, ranching and breeding is the solution.
“Cows which we slaughter more than 50,000 on daily basis as meat has not gone into extinction, so how can a donkey with the same gestation period as cow into extinction, we should encourage breeding and ranching,” he said.
He added that dealers have invested heavily over the years and had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) for the breeding and production of five million donkeys within a space of 10 years.
“We took this action to increase the local population of donkeys in Nigeria to avoid its extinction.
“We state categorically that anyone or group of person who support, the blanket ban on donkey killing is deemed enemy of our businesses, enemy to Nigeria economy as well as indirectly supporting the Chinese”, he stressed.
Speaking in the same vein, Mr Marxwel Okpara, a legal practitioner and a human rights activist said the bill was a calculated attempt to put some Nigerians out of business and from earning a living,adding that the business of donkey slaughtering had been in existence for 70 years.
He said the dealers were more worried about the extinction of donkey, hence have resorted to breeding more donkeys through establishment of ranching systems to keep them in business.
Okpara said he was not against having a legal framework to regulate the business of donkey, but advised that the act should be framed to protect Nigerians in the business of donkey across its value chain.
The bill on Donkey Slaughter, Regulation and Export Certification Bill 2020, sponsored by Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi seeks to regulate the slaughter of donkeys.
It also seeks to establish the breeding and ranching of donkeys through the export certification value chain, to mitigate extinction of donkeys given their Aesthetics, Ecological, Educational, Historical, Recreational and Scientific Value to the nation.
A member of House of Representatives, Mohammed Datti,
earlier in his remarks said the bill seeks to prohibit entirely, the killing and export of donkeys to China, saying that China was using the donkey skin for their traditional medicine.
“This animal is facing extinction and it’s an animal you cannot breed in large number because of the very low rate of fertility.
“The major beneficiary in this trade is the donkey breeding merchants in China with a profit of 293 million dollars in 2016 to the detriment of the rural people of Africa and Caribbean,” he said.
Earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Bima Enagi (APC Niger South) said the public hearing was designed to receive inputs from stakeholders and the general public with a bid to come up with relevant legislations that would promote agriculture in Nigeria.