Sunday, August 14, 2022

Three million jobs at stake over proposed ban on donkey slaughtering: Dealers

The dealers instead are agitating for a policy on donkey regulation, breeding and ranching to create millions of job opportunities.

• July 25, 2022

Donkey Dealers Association (DDA) says the proposed ban on donkey slaughtering in the country would result in losing jobs for at least three million Nigerians.

The national chairman of the association, Ifeanyi Dike, remarked at a one-day public hearing on eight bills for the agriculture sector.

The public hearing, held on Monday, was organised by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, chaired by Bima Enagi.

The bill is entitled “Donkey Slaughter Regulation and Export Certification Bill, 2020” and sponsored by Yahaya Abdullahi.

The bill, which passed the second reading on July 6, 2021, aimed at mitigating the extinction of donkeys, given their aesthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational and scientific value to the nation.

In his submission, Mr Dike said the dealers had invested heavily over the years and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) for the breeding and production of five million donkeys within a space of 10 years.

He maintained that donkey regulation, breeding and ranching policy would create millions of job opportunities starting from donkey farmers, traders, slaughterhouses, logistics and export.

“It is projected that donkey businesses, if properly regulated, are capable of injecting N10 billion annually to our economy,” he said.

He added, “We should know that the outright blanket ban as proposed by this bill will create some powerful smuggling syndicates who are bent on getting the donkey derivatives for export to China, thereby sabotaging the economy.”

Mr Dike urged the Senate to consider the plight of over three million Nigerians that would be out of jobs and businesses if the bill is allowed to pass.

Maxwell Okpara, a legal practitioner and a human rights activist, said the bill was a calculated attempt to put some Nigerians out of business, adding that the business of donkey slaughtering had been in existence for 70 years.

Mr Okpara said he was not against having a legal framework to regulate the donkey business, but advised that the act should be framed to protect Nigerians in the business of donkey value chain.

A member of the House of Representatives, Muhammad Datti, in his remarks, said the bill seeks to prohibit the killing and export of donkeys to China entirely, saying that China was using the donkey skin for their traditional medicine.

Earlier, the chairman of the committee said the public hearing was designed to receive input from stakeholders and the general public to develop relevant legislation promoting agriculture in the country.

He said the committee, through the senate leadership, wanted to reposition the agricultural sector to increase its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and achieve the objective of the global food organisational policies.

(NAN)

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