Nigeria, China to strengthen bilateral relation to curb illegal wildlife trade

Nigeria and China are set to strengthen bilateral relations to tackle illegal wildlife trade in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

This was the highpoint of a meeting between the delegations of the two countries led by the Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar; the Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, and the representatives of Chinese CITIES Management Authority (CMA).

Minister of Environment, Dr Mahmood Abubakar, emphasized on the need for the two countries to work together towards addressing the cancerous issue of illegal international wildlife trade, “which traffickers have exploited and exposed our nations to some of these unwholesome practices that we frown on as nations and defenders of endangered species.”

The minister of state, while reiterating Nigeria’s commitment to the fight against illegal wildlife trade, noted that Nigeria joined other 182 nations to sign and ratify the International Convention on CITIES in 1974 and to give municipal credence to this convention, Nigeria promulgated the Endangered Species Decree No. 11 in 1985, which is now enacted as Endangered Species Act 2016.

Ikeazor reaffirmed the ministry’s role as focal point of CITES implementation in Nigeria and its commitment to conserve wild species which she observed, are now almost driven into extinction due to over-exploitation, habitat change and illicit trafficking.

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She said that was why Nigeria established National Parks across the country in an effort to safeguard the surviving endangered species, and called on the delegation to visit at least one before departing the country to enable them to have a firsthand experience of Nigeria’s effort at safeguarding endangered species.

She assured them that the Federal Government of Nigeria would continue to put measures in place to make sure that enforcement, compliance and implementation measures are strengthened in the country.

Ikeazor commended China for taking the leading role in the preservation of wildlife with all kinds of species, and thanked the Chinese National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NAFGA) for supporting Nigeria’s manpower development in the compliance and implementation of wildlife management and CITES policy.

The Chinese Team Leader and NAFGA Vice Administrator, Li Shuming recognised the valued partnership with Nigeria and assured that more efforts would be made by the Chinese government to prioritise the bilateral relationship in wildlife conservation.

He stated that Chinese Government was paying more attention to wildlife preservation by setting up the National Park Authority, adding that China had 10 national parks to strengthen their efforts with plans to increase the number in future. “We have about 1,864 pandas and 293 elephants in these parks,” he said.

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