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Nigeria takes action against wildlife trafficking

In a significant move to combat wildlife trafficking and protect endangered species, Nigeria’s House of Representatives has passed the first reading of the Endangered Species…

In a significant move to combat wildlife trafficking and protect endangered species, Nigeria’s House of Representatives has passed the first reading of the Endangered Species Conservation and Protection Bill.

Sponsored by Hon. Terseer Ugbor, the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Environment, the bill aims to update and strengthen existing laws concerning wildlife protection.

The proposed legislation introduces measures to tackle illegal wildlife trade within Nigeria. These include enhancing law enforcement capabilities, empowering authorities with increased investigative powers, and implementing intelligence-led operations.

Additionally, the bill expands the judiciary’s ability to expedite wildlife-related cases and recover assets, while also imposing stringent penalties for traffickers and poachers.

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Hon. Ugbor stressed the importance of the bill in preserving Nigeria’s natural heritage, stating that, “Wildlife trafficking is not just a crime against nature; it is a threat to our planet’s delicate balance.”

Also, if enacted, the legislation would align Nigeria with international standards and agreements aimed at combating wildlife trafficking and protecting endangered species such as lions, elephants, gorillas, pangolins and chimpanzees.

While reacting, Wild Africa Fund CEO, Peter Knights said, “If passed swiftly, this state-of-the-art legislation will make Nigeria the regional leader it needs to be in fighting wildlife crime and helping wildlife across the African continent.

Similarly, Mary Rice, Executive Director of Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) UK, emphasised the importance of robust legislation in combating wildlife trafficking and urged Nigerian lawmakers to prioritise the bill’s enactment.

 

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