By Felicia Imohimi
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has frowned against the rate at which the national donkey herd is being decimated.
In a statement issued on Monday in Abuja by its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the group expressed its support for the “Under the Skin” campaign by the Donkey Sanctuary.
Suleiman commended the Donkey Sanctuary, a UK based International NGO and the Nigeria Now Magazine, for launching a global campaign on Thursday.
The campaign is tagged “Under the Skin: the impact of the global trade in donkey skins in West Africa”.
He said the campaign was aimed at rescuing the estranged donkey population and protect the vulnerable donkey-reliant communities.
Suleiman stated that transforming the lives of donkeys in Nigeria, and the people depending on them in particular, for their livelihood should be a matter of urgency.
“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.
“It is regrettable that 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 increases.
“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 stated.
He complained that the donkey, which has served a vast northern Nigerian population in agriculture, industry and transportation, was now threatened by an inhumane skin trade that risks its extinction with an attendant rise in poverty level on the deprived communities.
According to him, the first move of the group is to domesticate the donkey sanctuary campaign across all the states and remote communities of northern Nigeria, which is affected most by the deplorable donkey skin trade.
“We have begun 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 sensitise the locals and block the trade routes as well as 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,” he said.
The CNG, he said, would also extend its awareness creation and advocacy through lobbying governments and media relations to press for appropriate legislative backing. (NAN)