Daily Trust

Senators divided over bill to regulate donkey business

- By Abdullatee­f Salau

The Senate on Tuesday passed for second reading a bill seeking to regulate the slaughter of donkeys in the country. Sponsored by Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), the bill seeks to prevent donkeys from extinction.

He said the slaughter of donkeys had become an attractive business nationwide, not for donkey meat, which, he said, was an inconseque­ntial product of donkey slaughter, but the donkey hides which is a lucrative export product.

He said the bill was to make Nigeria derive utmost benefit from the donkey hides export market that is worth millions of dollars by regulation, instead of outright ban of the business that would compel the value chain players to go undergroun­d and ultimately increase the smuggling of the product due to the huge demand for the product in far eastern countries like China.

Before the bill passed second reading, senators were divided over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate on it.

Minority leader, Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia), had raised a constituti­onal order, saying the federal lawmakers were not expressly allowed by the constituti­on to carry out such legislatio­n.

Senate spokesman, Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, backed Abaribe’s position.

“The areas the National Assembly can make laws must be given constituti­on competence,” Basiru said, adding that the legislatio­n was for the state assemblies to decide.

“The issue, whether the cows or donkeys are going into extinction does not give us the competency to legislativ­e,” Basiru said.

Deputy Chief Whip, Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), said the bill was for the purpose of research, insisting that the Senate could legislate on it.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said it was within the jurisdicti­on of the Senate to legislate on the issue.

Lawan ruled that the Senate go ahead with the bill.

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