The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has restated its commitment to tackle the menace of illegal wildlife trade in the country.
The NCF said this in a statement by its Head of Communications, Mr Oladapo Soneye, on Saturday, April 10, 2021 in Abuja.
Soneye said that the foundation made the commitment at the workshop themed “Regional Common Action Plan on Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade” held in Abeokuta and Kano to tackle the challenge
He identified some of NCF challenges to include shortage of forest guards, high rate of poverty among forest dwellers, over-dependency on the forest resources.
Others, he stated, included lack of modern facilities and equipment to manage the forests and lack of environmental education among Nigerians had also be identified as part of the challenges.
According to him, the objectives of the workshop include to improve awareness on the illegal wildlife trade issue with vulture as target species.
He said that the workshop would bring to the front burner the common challenges and limitations against enforcement of wildlife laws in Nigeria.
Other objectives, according to him, included sensitisation on enforcement and border control agencies on the need to get more knowledge, understand the law and intensify efforts on enforcement.
He described illegal wildlife trade as fourth transnational crime in global rating poses threats to biodiversity comprising iconic animals such as elephants, rhinos, leopards and pangolins.
According to him, birds such as vultures and African grey parrot are not exempted from this threat.
He further revealed that the Nigeria Customs Service made several seizures by profiling the containers, elephant tusks, pangolin scales, rhino horn.
He said that majority of 1,169 forest reserves in Nigeria suffered neglect, degradation, poaching and are not properly managed.
He also noted that reviewing the existing laws to make penalties stiffer and enhancing the capacity of law enforcement agencies in proper prosecution were identified as major ways to combat transnational and national illegal wildlife trade in Nigeria.
“Environmental education, increased awareness campaign, training and re-training of security agents and more were other solutions proffered at the workshops,” he said.
By Patience Omoha