A federal leather development institute says it is proposing a legislation to ban the consumption of animal skin, locally known as ponmo, in the country.
Professor Muhammad Yakubu, the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST) Zaria, said on Sunday in Abuja that the legislation was necessary to revive the comatose leather industry in the country.
According to him, the habit of eating animal skin, which has no nutritional value, should be stopped in order to save the industry and boost the nation’s economy.
“To the best of my knowledge, Nigerians are the only people in the world that overvalue skin as food, after all ponmo has no nutritional value,” he said.
The D-G said the institute, in collaboration with stakeholders in the industry, would approach the National Assembly and state governments to bring out legislation banning Pomo consumption.
“At one point, there was a motion before the two chambers of the National Assembly, it was debated, but I don’t know how the matter was thrown away,” he said.
According to him, the consumption of animal skin is partly responsible for the present comatose state of tanneries in Nigeria.
“If we get our tanneries, our footwear and leather production working well in Nigeria, people will hardly get ponmo to buy and eat,’’ Mr Yakubu said.
The D-G also said that the current National Leather Policy had addressed some fundamental problems of the sector.
“When implemented fully, it would turn around most of the comatose tanneries and ginger greater output in production,’’ he said.
He appealed to stakeholders to support the legislation and the national leather policy to revive the sector.
NILEST was set up to promote leather production as provided in the Agricultural Research Institute Act of 1975.
It conducts research into all aspects of production and products of leather and utilization of local tanning materials in the country.