Officials in Nigeria said Thursday they seized thousands of donkey penises that were about to be exported to Hong Kong.

Nigeria Customs Service area commander, Sambo Dangaladima, told the media that the sacks of donkey male genitals were seized at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital.

He said the consignment was “falsely declared … as cow male genitals (but) after due examination, my export officers discovered they were donkey male genitals,” adding that a total of 16 sacks of the genitals were seized.

The customs service said it had launched an investigation to find out more about the seized items.

Although the seizure of donkey genitals meant for export from Nigeria is rare, donkey skins are known to be frequently exported or smuggled out of the country. 

Muslim young boy with donkey cart, Siwa Oasis, Western Sahara, Africa

In July, the customs in Nigeria seized $116,000 worth of donkey skins being smuggled from neighbouring Niger Republic into Nigeria.

Nigeria is trying to curb the export of donkey skins which has drastically diminished the country’s population of the animal particularly in the north. 

Nigeria’s senators in 2021 proposed to ban the killing of donkeys and the export of their skins.

The lawmakers said banning the killing of donkeys would further curb the export of donkey skins as well as the genitals (which Nigeria prohibits) to countries such as China where the skins are used in traditional medicines. 

That proposed legislation is yet to be passed into law.

“The major beneficiary in this trade is the donkey (skin) merchants in China,” Muhammad Datti, one of the federal lawmakers supporting the proposed ban, said. “This animal is facing extinction (in Nigeria) and it is an animal you cannot breed in large numbers because of the very low rate of fertility.”


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