Environment Headline Local News Nigeria

FG to end wildlife trafficking

70 persons have been trained to raise awareness on wildlife trafficking in Nigeria and the dangers posed by the illegal trade.

The capacity building was made possible by the Federal Ministry of Environment, Department of Forestry with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the West Africa Biodiversity and Low Emissions Development (WABiLED) program.

Participants came from the transport and finance sectors as well as agencies responsible for law enforcement.

The workshop also provided the opportunity to introduce the Trade in Wildlife Information Exchange (TWIX) platform.

Wildlife Information Exchange is an online tool used in other regions of Africa and Asia by law enforcement and management authorities to exchange and share data related to international wildlife trade and CITES.

The illegal trafficking of wildlife is under the ambit of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a multilateral agreement to protect plants and animals from threats so that international trade does not lead to their extinction.

The training in Nigeria is among a series of national workshops under the framework of the ECOWAS’ West Africa Strategy to Combat Wildlife Crime (WASCWC), which aims at raising awareness and strengthen the capacity of all stakeholders to combat wildlife trafficking effectively and collaboratively across the region.

The Head of CITES and Wildlife Management in Nigeria Mr. Timothy Daniel John said, “This workshop is the right step to realizing the 2022-2026 National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime in Nigeria.

Wildlife trafficking is a serious threat to Nigeria’s rich biodiversity, we realize the urgency to combat it through this initiative by strengthening our national capacities to address the menace.’’

Also, the Senior Financial Crime Specialist for WABILED, Naveed Khan noted, “This workshop is an opportunity to share best practices and pave the way for identifying focal points to better coordinate future inter-sectoral events and training. It is essential that solutions consider strategic actors at national, regional, and international levels entailing a ‘whole of society’ approach to curtail and ultimately eradicate this menace”

The Director, Environment and Natural Resources at ECOWAS, Mr. Musa Leko expressed the hope that the training would give the desired impetus to participants in the fight against illegal wildlife trade.

 Similar workshops have already been delivered in Ghana, Liberia, Togo, and Côte-d’Ivoire and are being replicated in Nigeria, with a view to preparing a regional workshop to present the synthesis of the results, guide the production of regional training modules and define the mechanisms that will allow the exchange of information and good practices among stakeholders.

The West Africa Biodiversity and Low Emissions Development (WABiLED) Program is a four-year program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with 3 main objectives: combat trafficking wildlife and improve the conservation of great apes; reduce deforestation, forest degradation, and biodiversity loss in key transboundary landscapes; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Writing by Godson Elekwachi, editing by Daniel Adejo