The Federal Government on Tuesday clarified that donkey hide had not been lifted from the export prohibition list as erroneously reported in some quarters.
It stated that the resumption of the certification of the commodity for export was hinged on the rebound of the Nigerian donkey herd, but insisted that the animal was still classified as an endangered species.
The government disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja by the Head of Media, Communication and Strategies, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, Chigozie Nwodo.
It said the clarification was necessary due to a news report that erroneously suggested that the NAQS had resumed the certification of donkey skin for export.
Reacting to this, the Director-General of the agency, Vincent Isegbe, pointed out that the NAQS met with all the relevant associations in September last year to chart a course toward restocking the donkeys through breeding and ranching in order to put the animals beyond the threat of extinction.
Isegbe added that the government would consider delisting donkey hide from the contraband category only after the scale had tilted in favour of the recovery of Nigerian donkeys.
He explained that the decline of the donkey population in Nigeria was driven by surging demand for donkey hide in Asia.
Isegbe said the product was used in making potions and items presumed to have therapeutic and cosmetic value, but warned that its export was still prohibited, as it was illegal to move the commodity out of Nigeria.
The NAQS boss had recently stated that about 80 per cent of agro-products from Nigeria that were intercepted and seized by the European Union member nations were exported illegally.
He told our correspondent during an interview that most of the products were prohibited for exports by the government, adding that people illegally moved the items out of the country without clearance by the NAQS.
The NAQS is a regulatory agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development that harmonises plants, veterinary and aquatic resources quarantine in Nigeria.
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