Some Chinese nationals are in the illegal business of slaughtering and exporting donkeys in the country, a coalition of over four civil society organizations has revealed.
The group, under the leadership of the convener of coalition of over four Civil Society Organizations, Barr. Emmanuel Onwudiwe made this known at a press conference on Monday in Abuja, alleged that the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, is aware of it.
Recall that the Donkey Slaughter, Regulation and Export Certification Bill 2020, sponsored by Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi which seeks to regulate the slaughter of donkeys is already being considered by the National Assembly.
The bill also seeks to establish the breeding and ranching of donkeys through the export certification value chain, to mitigate the extinction of donkeys given their aesthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational and scientific value to the nation.
The Federal Government through the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) had in March restated its ban on the export of donkey hide or skin from Nigeria.
But with the help of Abubakar, some Chinese nationals have continued in this illegal act according to the CSOs.
In his address, Barr Emmanuel Onwudiwe said the group is raising this alarm “in defence of our territorial integrity and respect for constituted authorities”.
Onwudiwe added, “You would recall that President Muhammed Buhari GCFR had on March 21 2022, after a Federal Executive Council Meeting, issued a directive that foreigners are not permitted to directly go into the forest and engage in direct purchase and slaughter of Donkeys. This memorandum was duly forwarded to all the relevant stakeholders in the Agro Business, including the Ministry of Agriculture. It is therefore inexcusable that the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mohamed Mahmood Abubakar has continued to give tacit approval to Chinese nationals to go into the forest and deal directly in these businesses against the direct orders of the President of the federal republic of Nigeria, and in flagrant disregard of our sovereignty.
“A minister is an appointee of the president and the Interpretation Act is clear that he who appoints can suspend. It is therefore shocking that a Minister, an appointee of the President, can so brazenly go against direct orders of the President without attracting any severe consequences. The continued silence of the Presidency over this declaration of war against the directives of the president by an appointee of his is a threat to our democracy, sovereignty and rule of law. There is no doubt that more appointees seeing that no serious action is taken against recalcitrant Mahmood, will employ similar crude measures to demean the exalted office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in pursuit of selfish ends. This action of the minister also makes our sovereignty susceptible to foreign interference.”
Onwudiwe also lamented the actions of the quarantine which has continued to use its platform to secure the release of all arrested Chinese nationals during the implementation of the Presidential directives.
“We also invite the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Senate and the House of Representatives to immediately commence a thorough investigation into the allegations that Quarantine collected several millions of naira, as a bribe, from the Chinese nationals to secure their illegal release,” he noted.
He, however, urged the authorities to properly regulate the sector.
“Donkey slaughter and exportation has no doubt become a juicy economic platform that is capable of injecting N60billion into the Nigerian economy by way of direct investment and is also capable of getting over Two Hundred and Fifty thousand (250,000) Nigerians direct and indirect employment,” he said.
“This economic potential of the sector can only be fully harnessed if the sector is well regulated to serve Nigeria’s best interest. During this period when the country‘s economy is in a near meltdown, we expected the government of the day to take advantage of this economic-promising sector to make a strong case for the revitalization of our economy and also allow it to serve as a rallying point for the mitigation of the skyrocketing unemployment rate in the country”.
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