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Friday, September 29, 2023

No more room for illegal wildlife trade, says govt

The Conservator General, National Park Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni, says there is no more room for illegal wildlife trade in the country as offenders will be prosecuted.

confiscated parrot
The Conservator General holding the caged confiscated parrot

Goni made this known on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Abuja when the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) handed over a confiscated parrot to the parks service for keeps and management.

He noted that the confiscation of the bird and its hand-over to the park’s management was a welcome development, adding that Nigeria would continue to fight against wildlife trafficking.

He said that Nigeria had been accused by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as a transit root and source of illegal animal trafficking.

“This has given our country a bad name. We are here to redeem that image. Mr President in 2016 reviewed the CITES Act for this reason.

“Based on the Act, most agencies like the National Park Service, NAQS, National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) and the Department of Forestry in the Ministry of Environment were given additional powers.

“This has made us to work as a team and as a result led to the confiscation of the parrot,’’ he said.

Goni further said that in the Convention Act, the parrot was clearly stated as an endangered bird and must be protected.

“Parrots are beneficial to man in several ways as they serve as stress buster due to their talking nature and help in guarding in homes.

“When well-trained, parrot would be able to pass information to the owner of the house especially if a trespasser comes around.

“A parrot can also tell time about one’s environment. It is highly trafficked because the feathers and inner organs serve as medicine,’’ he said.

Dr Vincent Isegbe, Director General, NAQS, also noted that one of his organisation’s  mandate was “to track the in and out of illegal animals”.

Isegbe, who was represented by Dr Yunisa Dakat of NAQS, said that the confiscated parrot was arrested and detained in Lagos for lack of document.

“If our officers discover you don’t have the right documents attached to the animal to travel with, they will confiscate the animal.

“This parrot was seized at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. The people don’t have the document of the bird so we confiscated it and brought it to the parks for keeps,’’ he said.

Also, Yohanna Saidu of the Wildlife Conservation Service commended NAQS for doing its job and taking the pain to move the parrot from Lagos to Abuja for proper management.

He said that such gesture and collaboration among relevant agencies would help Nigeria to redeem her image globally.

Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director-General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), said the gesture showed that government enforcement agencies were working.

“It sent a message to the would-be perpetrators that they will be caught and prosecuted. It will reduce wildlife crime in the nation.

“CITES is an international treaty drawn up in 1973 to protect wildlife against over-exploitation.

“It also has the mandate to prevent international trade from threatening species with extinction. Endangered species is a species of animal or plant that is seriously at risk of extinction,” he said.

By Patience Omoha

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