The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has frowned at the current rate at which the national donkey herd is being decimated, and threw its weight behind the “Under the Skin” campaign by the Donkey Sanctuary.
CNG Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman said in a statement that, the campaign launched in Abuja at the weekend by the Donkey Sanctuary and Nigeria Now Magazine aims to rescue the estranged donkey population and protect the vulnerable donkey-reliant communities.
According to him, it is a matter of national urgency to transform the lives of donkeys in Nigeria and in particular, the people depending on them for their livelihood.
“The current demand for donkey skin by the Chinese Ejiao manufacturers has greatly endangered the global donkey population and is taking a huge toll on the economy of northern Nigerian communities.
He said it is regrettable that at present, donkeys from northern Nigeria are traded or stolen in large numbers as the demand for their skins, driven by the production of ejiao, a traditional Chinese remedy.
“The CNG has resolved to identify with the Donkey Sanctuary’s vision for a world where donkeys live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity fully valued,” Suleiman said.
He lamented that, the donkey, which has served a vast northern Nigerian population in agriculture, industry and transportation, is today threatened by an inhumane skin trade that risks its extinction with an attendant rise in poverty level on the deprived communities.
“Our first move would be to domesticate the Donkey Sanctuary campaign across all the states and remote communities of northern Nigeria which is affected the most by the deplorable donkey skin trade.
“We have began the process of rendering “Under the Skin” global report into native languages for easier understanding by the Northern Nigerian locals.
“We shall then set up local community units first in six identified most vulnerable states of Yobe, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto and Kebbi to sensitize the locals as well as expose and block the trade routes and sales channels.
“We also plan to immediately set up an operations office in Kaduna and to draw up a comprehensive framework for awareness and advocacy activities, networking and training on the welfare of donkeys and the people whose lives they touch,” Suleiman said.
The CNG, he said, would also extend its awareness raising and advocacy through lobbying governments and media relations to press for appropriate legislative backing.
“This is necessary considering that donkeys are a pathway out of poverty and can be the difference between destitution and modest survival,” he pointed out.