Animal Rights activists gathered in Ibadan, southwest Nigeria on Saturday 20th March 2021 to launch a new body known as SOCIETY FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS PROTECTION (SARP). The epoch making event was graced by eminent personalities including Chief Mrs Folake Solanke(SAN), Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), Chief Yemi Ogunyemi and Professor Adeniyi Olatubosun (VC, Kola Daisi University, Ibadan) among other dignitaries.
In his welcome address, the president of SARP, Dr Ibikunle Faramade, hinted that the society which was officially registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission on 16th March 2020, has members from various backgrounds and also would welcome anyone who shares in the vision to uplift animal rights and welfare in Nigeria. He emphasized that though SARP was preceded by some other animal rights organizations in Nigeria, such as the Nigeria Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals founded in 1947, SARP is determined to build on the foundations laid by these organizations and partner with all relevant bodies, individuals and groups, both local and international.
“It is time to put Nigeria on the map of countries that have determined to encourage sustainable use of animal resources, prevent abuse and cruelty to animals in all its form and promotion of animal welfare. To all these ideals, we pledge to commit ourselves wholeheartedly.”
Chief Mrs Folake Solanke (SAN, OON, CON) who was the Mother of the day at the occasion lent her voice to the call for respect of animal rights in her brief remarks. She called for legislations and enforcement of such to guarantee the rights of animals in Nigeria. She advised that the country must move forward from Section 20 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which says that “The State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air, land and forest and wildlife of Nigeria”.
In an emotion laden tone, Chief Solanke declared “Our mode of transportation and slaughter of animals is a scandalous example of the total disregard of people for animal life. Regulations must be published and enforced to regulate the number of cows loaded and transported in a lorry. The suffering of those animals is lamentable. They are twisted and tied with ropes while crushed and cramped in the back of a vehicle. This is a sad commentary on our nonchalant contemptuous attitude to animal rights. The actual method of slaughtering is very inhumane. It should not be so, and it is a serious violation of the constitution”.
Chief Yemi Ogunyemi, the traditional ruler of Oluyole in Ibadan, who chairman the occasion relive some Yoruba traditional practises which encourages and advances the rights and welfare of animals. He encouraged the proponents of SARP to bring every stakeholders on board in the struggle to secure the rights of animals.
Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN) who represented the Chief Host of the event, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), compared the wide gap in the freedom enjoyed by animals in developed countries like UK and USA to those of animals in Nigeria. He was astonished that even when squirrel cross your legs in the UK, one dare not touch them, whereas in Nigeria, such squirrel would warm the pot of the person that same day. He therefore called for the right to freedom of animals in Nigeria to be respected also.
The high point of the event was the lecture of the invited guest speaker, Professor Idowu Ola of the Department of Animal Sciences of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, whose talk centered on the rights and welfare of animals before and after Covid 19 pandemic. He was emphatic on the need to distinguish between the rights and welfare of animals; the fact that both man and his domesticated animals have been negatively affected by the pandemic; and the need for SARP to engage every important stakeholder in the struggle to bring animal rights issues to the front burner in Nigeria. Further, Professor Ola remarked that animal rights and welfare issues are not lacking legislation in Nigeria but, rather the enforcement of such legislations.
“The Nigeria Institute of Animal Science and the Veterinary Council of Nigeria are two legally constituted bodies of the Federal Government, with mandates and provisions to ensure that domesticated animals are well cared for before, during and after death. However these bodies are still lacking in their capacities to enforce the regulations on animal welfare”.
Professor Ola therefore called for the domestication of the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare in Nigeria, which over 40 countries had already signified their support.
The launching of SARP also witnessed the investiture of eminent personalities as foundation Honourary Life Members. They include Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Professor Joshua Ogunwole (Vice Chancellor of Bowen University, Iwo), AIG Fimihan Adeoye, Professor Adeniyi Olatunbosun (Vice Chaencellor of Kola Daisi University, Ibadan), Professor Idowu Ola (the guest speaker) and HRH Oba Sooko Alayemore of Ife.
The exemplary zeal of the Chairman of Board to Trustee of SARP, Barrister Sikiru Adewoye in piloting the affairs of SARP was specially commended by all the speakers at the event. LIVESTONEWS.
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