By Aliyu Nuhu
It is indeed a horrible time for the Nigerian donkeys. Each day about 5000 donkeys leave the Maigatari market in Jigawa State to the East, where they are consumed as meat by many households.
That is just one statistics from Jigawa State alone. Some 15000 donkeys also passed from North East and the Niger Republic to the South East, mostly Agbor, Anambra, Onitsha, Enugu and Abakalaki, to meet a similar fate.
Now it seems the donkeys are in for bigger trouble as the Chinese have also developed an appetite, particularly for their meat and skin. As a result, demand for donkeys has tripled over a short period. Meanwhile, the donkey is not bred in Nigeria on an industrial scale, and it is an animal that does not multiply with its very slow birth rate.
It is terrible enough to consume the gentle beast locally but worse to see it exported to China. Then who will save the donkey?
States in the North should legislate against the trading of donkeys for export to other parts of the federation. Already the price of a donkey that used to be between 8000-10000 naira has hit 35000 naira, making it well above the means of the local farmers who use it as rural means of transport.
The Federal Government must urgently place a ban on the exportation of donkeys and their by-products to the outside world, for now, China.
Aliyu Nuhu is a popular social commentator. He lives in Abuja, Nigeria.