Reps propose stiffer laws to protect Nigeria’s wildlife

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By Oladisun Amosun

House of Representatives has proposed the enactment of a law that will provide stiffer penalties for wildlife traffickers in Nigeria.

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Environment, Mr Terser Ugbor, disclosed this in Abuja at a Policy Dialogue on the Endangered Species Conservation and Protection Bill, 2024.

Mr Ugbor said that addressing the issue of wildlife trafficking requires a multifaceted approach, stricter enforcement, community engagement, and international cooperation which would play a crucial role in combating it.

He submitted that the passage of the wildlife conservation bill, which has passed first reading, will swiftly reverse the negative reputation of Nigeria as a global hub for wildlife trafficking in recent years.

According to the committee chairman, when passed, the Bill will also up Nigeria’s ante in contributions to conservationism globally and put paid to that aspect of the 10th House of Representatives Legislative Agenda. ####

Speaking earlier, Andrew Dunn of the International Wildlife Conservation Society, in his contribution specifically advocated for review of existing penalties, which he described as out of tune with recent modalities in dealing with illegal wildlife trade, describing it as not strong enough to deter the profit-induced dilapidation of the ecosystem.

Dunn noted that “Just in the past two weeks, there was a big container of elephant ivory seized in Vietnam, a haul too big to come from Nigeria alone, but other countries in Central Africa. So Nigeria is being used as a hook for the illegal Wildlife Trade, further highlighting the need, not only for wildlife conservation of endangered Species, but National Parks legislation as well”