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FG, stakeholders in talks over trade in endangered plants, animals


Usman Jubril

Plan national forestry trust fund

Amid global concerns over illegal trade in endangered species of plants and animals, especially, the alleged wood export racketeering to China, the Federal Government has moved to intensify campaign and sensitization on the regulations guiding their conservation and protection.

The government also announced that preparations have begun for the kick-off and selection of trustees for the proposed National Forestry Trust Fund, which was recently approved by Federal Executive Council (FEC) as part of the actionable strategies to address issues of deforestation and forest degradation. The fund is expected to ensure sustainable forest development and boost revenue generation.

The new development was revealed in a Stakeholders’ Sensitization and Awareness Interactive Workshop on Wood Export and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Implementation in Lagos, organized by the Federal Ministry of Environment.CITES is an international treaty to control, and regulate the use of species of plants and animals that are threatened, endangered or are at the verge of being extinct.

The convention was domesticated in Nigeria through the National Wildlife Protection Act 2016, which seek to protect specific flora and fauna species that are indigenous to the country from going extinct.The Minister of State for Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman who opened the workshop, said that the event was strategically designed to create to create awareness and increase understanding of the need for compliance with established standards, regulations, procedures for sustainable and legal trade.

“Illegal trade on wild flora and fauna resources must be stopped. It threatens the environment, deprives communities of their livelihoods, decreases revenues for governments, for businesses and increases the probability of conflicts and insecurity in addition to jeopardizing the survival of some species,” he said.The minister stressed that consumption of these and services are expected to be compatible with economic development, social benefit and environmental sustainability. “Sustainable utilization of these resources calls for monitoring of markets, trade patterns, enforcing compliance with regulations, standards, procedures and process for access and ensuring rights of generations yet unborn to the enjoyment of same are secured.”

Usman noted that forest and its resources contribute significantly to the economic development of advanced countries like USA, Canada and Finland, while in developing countries like Nigeria, they underpin peoples’ livelihoods and economic development in areas such as furniture, construction, housing, food, security, Medicare and environmental services.He disclosed that CITES officials are expected next month in Nigeria.

But sources said that a technical mission will be in Nigeria to assist coordination between CITES and customs authorities. Nigeria is emerging as a major hub for criminal gangs moving wildlife and animal parts around the globe.For instance, three elephant tusks and 31 ivory pieces worth $469,800 smuggled from Nigeria were seized in Thailand and another baby chimpanzees were also seized in Nepal.

Recent decisions by the world’s trade regulator have generated some interest among the global community. For instance, the CITES committee ruled recently that parties should not accept any permit or certificate for kosso rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus), issued by Nigeria unless its authenticity has been confirmed by the CITES Secretariat.

The Director, Forestry Department, Mr. Michael Osakuade pointed out that the ministry has continuously engage, collaborate and dialogue with major players in the wood export business, represented by Processed Wood Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (TWEAN) and enforcement agencies in the various aspects of the wood export as well as adopted actionable strategies to address deforestation.According to him, the basic reason for all these efforts is to ensure sustainable use and legal trade in wood and other forest products.

In this article:
Ibrahim Usman
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