The Nigeria Association of Zoological Garden and Wildlife Park has decried the alleged violation of animal rights by officials of Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA), Imo.
National President of the union, Dr Francis Abioye, said in Owerri on Thursday, October 17, 2019 that it would embark on a peaceful protest against the action on Oct. 21.
He said that the union held emergency meeting and decided to fight for animals whose rights were violated by OCDA officials.
Abioye alleged that OCDA officials invaded the Imo State Zoological Garden on Oct 4 and carted away equipment meant for reinforcement and maintenance of animal houses over alleged violation of building code.
The development has since generated criticism on the side of OCDA as their action according to experts violated the animal’s rights.
According to him, the invaders carted away water pumping machines used for regular maintenance of crocodile’s water.
He said that the inability to change crocodile water regularly was a big hazard to visitors and staff as well as the animals.
The president said that the authority also violated the rights of animals by breaking the fence of the facility, making the conservative area unsafe for the animals.
Abioye alleged that a welding machine and other filing components for reinforcement of weak lion’s house and protectors were also carted away.
He said that the inability to continue with the reinforcement of the lion’s house had posed danger to both visitors and staff.
While describing the action of OCDA officials as against the wildlife law, Abioye said the protest would serve as deterrent to others who violated animal rights with impunity.
When contacted, the state Commissioner for Environment, Mr Tony Okere, said he had directed the authority to return the materials removed from the zoo within 24 hours.
By Ikechukwu Iweajunwa