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NCF seeks commitment to halt wildlife poaching, climate change

By Victor Gbonegun
12 December 2022   |   4:00 am
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has asked the authorities to align with growing number of countries around the world that have demonstrated commitment to stop poaching and illegal trade in wildlife. The President, Board of Trustees of NCF, Izoma Philip Asiodu, who led the charge at its 33rd yearly general meeting held virtually, said if…

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has asked the authorities to align with growing number of countries around the world that have demonstrated commitment to stop poaching and illegal trade in wildlife.

The President, Board of Trustees of NCF, Izoma Philip Asiodu, who led the charge at its 33rd yearly general meeting held virtually, said if conscientious efforts are not made, Nigeria may soon lose some of its endemic species such as Ibadan Malimbe, Rock Firefinch and its brood parasite, the Jos/Plateau Indigo-bird, Anambra Waxbill, White throated monkey and others.

Asiodu said such fears motivated the foundation to intensify environmental education, which depicts how NCF is passionate about saving species in perils.

“The unfortunate hacking of elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns respectively; as well as killing of pangolins and vultures; sea turtles and other endangered species for their body parts, for traditional medicine and delicacies persist, as does the illegal demand for ivory, scales, and horns; among so many other forms of trafficking in the endangered species that collectively share the planet earth with us. Pangolins have not fared any better. These intriguing creatures are now listed as the most illegally trafficked mammals in the world,” he said.

He disclosed that another strong pillar foundation considered very important is climate change, which has become the biggest global environmental threat. He, therefore, called for adaptive measures to protect arid regions in the northern part of the country where desert encroachment is happening at a fast rate.

As part of efforts to address climate change, he said, NCF and others have been able to develop and execute some projects and activities that led to the sustainable management of nature amid the booming population and environmental challenges across the country for posterity to enjoy a beautiful habitat.

“One major milestone achievement of the Foundation in 2021 was the launch of the new Strategic Action Plan (SAP), 2021 to 2025, which is a call to practical action by the foundation as well as all Nigerians across communities. The new NCF SAP, which provides a clear five-year roadmap for the foundation has four key pillars, which are spaces/green recovery Nigeria, species/saving species in peril, climate change/ tackling the climate crisis and partnerships – fostering collaboration with stakeholders,” he said.

Asiodu reiterated that the foundation will continue to intensify efforts, synergise with other partners to achieve greater results and appeal to members to intensify efforts, as individuals and as members of various organisations, to make NCF a mass membership organisation.

The Chairman, National Executive Council, Chief Ede Dafinone, said in the year under review, NCF’s relationship with several agencies of the government at national and sub-national levels, as well as with international partners was renewed and reinvigorated.

“The groundwork laid through our engagements with policy makers and key players in the environment and conservation sector over time have recently culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Ministry of Environment that will give our Foundation an important leverage on all environmental and conservation issues in Nigeria. We have also renewed our strategic partnership with relevant government parastatals, which has now enhanced our prospects of expanding the coverage of our conservation activities unhindered with the required support,” Dafinone said

Also, addressing the gathering, the Director General of NCF, Dr. Joseph Onoja, assured members that the foundation would continue to drive the Green Recovery Nigeria (GRN) Initiative that was launched in 2017. He said, so far, 1.7 million tree seedlings have been planted as of December 2021.

“We successfully intervened in preventing human-elephant conflict in Andoni council, Rivers State through an education and awareness programme, supported through the Nigeria National Elephant Action Plan Workshop in Abuja. Essentially, waterfowl and water related birds’ surveys in the Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands were carried out, and the total result was 710,833 individual birds were recorded from 87 bird species, a tremendous increase in both individual and bird species as compared to that of 2019 and 2020 records. These were in addition to our continued work in saving our vultures from peril” Onoja said.

He said: “through our policy and advocacy office in Abuja, we participated in the review of the laws of the Nigeria National Park Service; served in the committee set-up by the Federal Department of Forestry to deliberate on issues relating to timber exportation and unsustainable use of other NTFP and involved in the validation of National Strategic Action Plan (2021 – 2025) of the National Agency of Great Green Wall; and participated in the second technical workshop on the development of appropriate legal framework and related advisory services. Synergies for Nigeria’s Climate Change Legislative Agenda and roadmap to COP 26.”

Onoja further said as part of its community outreach and engagement in partnership with Oando Foundation, the organisation embarked on waste to wealth training for teachers in some selected schools in Lagos and held clean-up activities in their host communities among other achievements in the year under review.