Abuja — The Federal Government is committed to the protection of the nation’s wild life by ensuring adequate enforcement of laws and regulations on illegal trade in wildlife across the country, Dr. Ngeri Benebo, Director-General, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), has said.
Benebo stated this in Kano during the opening ceremony of a three-day National Training Workshop on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) enforcement in Nigeria.
She disclosed that CITES is an international body with the mandate to regulate trading in endangered species all over the world, with 175 signatories to the party, including Nigeria.
Stating that the training and development of capacity of the relevant agencies is part of the government’s efforts at improving on the control of the movement and illegal trading in flora and fauna across the country, she added that the training became imperative due to the role the species play in preserving the country’s ecosystem and biodiversity.
She said that the training was the first ever by the secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of wild fauna and flora in Nigeria, aimed at reversing the ugly trend of destroying Nigeria’s biodiversity by illegal trading in various species.
In her words, “We are gathered here in an effort to reverse a trend that is capable of destroying Nigeria’s rich biodiversity, by denying our nation the full realisation of its economic development potentials and one that has already contributed to denting the image of our great country.”
She stated that the agency has the power to enter and search, examine anything suspected to be an article to which the Act or regulations are made or which are capable of being used to the detriment of the nation’s environment..
She said in line with discharging its duties, the agency can
also open and examine any container or package that may contain anything to which the Act or its regulations may help in investigations.
Benebo said that effective implementation of any Convention, law or regulation depends on the technical competence and integrity of its staffers handling such tasks, adding that the capacity of the relevant agencies needs to be developed for effective implementation of the CITES Convention.
In his remarks, John Seller, Chief Enforcement Officer, CITES Secretariat, said Nigeria is strategic and important because of its large bio-derversity, adding that the country has been exploited and used as transit route by those in and outside the country.
Seller noted that the Convention would ensure an end to the illegal import and export of species into or out of the country:
“We work together, both in the international and local level, to ensure control of movement of these species by illegal traders,” he said.