As Nigeria is desperately looking for fresh sources of revenue to replace the $30bn she used to generate from crude oil exports she should examine the potential of the domestic animal market

By Ayo Akinfe

(1) As we scratch our heads desperately seeking alternatives to petro dollars, nothing should be off limits. We should be prepared to think the unthinkable. Today, I want us to turn our attention to the domestic animal and pet market as it is an untapped resource which we have never even looked at

(2) Let us start with dogs, man’s best friend. Trust us in Nigeria not to keep any records but we collated data shows that Africa has about 78m dogs, of which a whopping 70m are stray

(3) Worldwide, dogs are used by security forces, as guides for blind people, as trackers for mountaineers and at airports and ports for drug detection. Can someone please explain to me why Nigeria is not seeking to become the world’s largest supplier into this market

(4) There are about 58m horses in the world, used for everything from providing security, to racing and to transport humans in inhospitable terrains. Trust Nigerians not to keep statistics of how many horses we have and breed. How do you plan for the future when you do not have data on the present?

(5) In contrast, horse production figures are available from most other nations. For instance US - 10m, Mexico - 6.3m, China - 6m, Brazil - 5.25m and Argentina - 3.6m. They can all easily enter into supply agreements with police forces worldwide to supply them with horses

(6) For instance, if the German Police Force wants 1m horses to patrol its border with the Czech Republic and Poland, Nigeria should be able to tell them that this order will be fulfilled by June 2021 under a $2bn supply deal

(7) This kind of arrangement should also be used for animals like donkeys. For instance, there are about 41m donkeys in the world. Thankfully, they are no longer being used as beasts of burden in industrialised countries due to animals rights concerns but the demand for them is still huge. In developed countries, donkeys are now mainly used for children’s rides and to sire mules to guard sheep. We could sell millions to them

(8) Oxen are another area where Nigeria has huge potential. Given all the drama we have had over cattle, I ask why there is not a thriving oxen market in Nigeria supplying at least 30% of the world’s oxen. We should be able to use the slogan “If you want a beast of burden come to Nigeria. We were once the slave coast but now we can supply you with oxen instead.”

(9) There is also a thriving market for exotic pets like iguanas, salamanders, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, bush babies, parrots, etc. Is there any reason why Nigeria is not looking to become the market leader in this sector?

(10) With the global exotic pet market alone worth $232bn, Nigeria should easily be generating a handsome sum from this sector. We are a tropical nation who can supply most of these animals in abundance but alas, it appears we cannot think beyond crude oil and borrowing as sources of revenue at the moment. Our instincts are not that far off those of wild animals at the moment. We sell crude oil or borrow to raise money then spend it on owambes, parties in Dubai, properties in the US, healthcare in Europe, pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem, donating tithes to our clergymen and importing SUVs and then we expect economic development????? - You are the problem with Nigeria!