The bill to prohibit the killing and exportation of donkeys or its carcasses out of Nigeria, on Tuesday, passed the second reading at the House of Representatives.
The bill sponsored by Rep. Garba Muhammed (APC-Kaduna State), at plenary, seeks to address the threat of donkeys going into extinction as well as protect them for other aesthetic, ecological, historical, recreational and scientific values, they possess.
Muhammed, leading the debate on the bill, said that it was necessary that donkeys were preserved for use particularly in transportation, among other uses.
According to him, the donkey is a very useful means of transportation, particularly in the rural communities of the country.
“Recently, the donkey population has severely reduced. The reason ascribed to this development, like in many countries of West African sub-region, is large-scale exports to China.
“In China, where the donkey population has also nosedived, the demand for donkeys is extremely high because gelatine made from donkey skin is highly priced as a nutritional tonic which nourishes the blood and boosts the immune system.
“Donkey meat is also a delicacy in some Chinese regions, especially in the North of the country. The Chinese have, therefore, invaded West Africa, among other places, for its donkey population.
“This bill is, therefore, not a novelty in the world as it has become the trend.
“Botswana, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Gambia are countries which have recently prohibited the exportation of donkeys in order to keep their donkey population at sustainable levels.
“While Zimbabwe and Ethiopia have also imposed some restrictions on its export,” he said.
Muhammed explained that in Kano State, for instance, where many rural communities utilised the donkey for transportation, the donkey used to sell for between N15,000 and N18,000 but now goes for between N70,000 and N75,000.
According to him, “these poor rural farmers cannot afford donkeys anymore. Meanwhile, Dong-E E-Jiao, which is China’s donkey market leader, posted pre-tax profits of 295 million dollars in 2016”.
“Our silence means that our helpless people would be milked dry for the commercial interest of foreign states.
“To stem the tide, the bill proposes under clauses 1 and 2 among others, to prohibit the exportation of live donkeys as well as intentional killing and exportation of donkey parts in Nigeria as well as for consumption.”
The bill, therefore, recommends a penalty of 10 years imprisonment for offences committed.
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