The Minister of the Environment, Amina Mohammed has called on all Nigerians to join in the war against the illegal trading in endangered species of fauna and flora, to conserve them for the future generation, as well as generate revenue for host communities and the nation.
She made this announcement in a message to commemorate the World Environment Day celebration in Lagos.
The minister, who was represented by the Controller, Federal Ministry of Environment (FME) in Lagos, Agbenla Oluwatoyin, assured that the country would fully meet the recommendations by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), which it is a signatory to.
Mohammed explained that through the collaboration of the Nigerian Immigration Service and other institutions, traders in engendered species are being intercepted and handed over to the police for prosecution.
“Illegal trade in wildlife is the exchange of undomesticated animals and plants from their natural habitat against established rules and regulations. This has led to wildlife crime which covers different kinds of criminal activities such as poaching, capture/collection of fauna and flora from the wild, smuggling, possession, and illegal import or export of endangered species of wild fauna and flora,” she said, adding:
“Illegal wildlife trade is a challenge because it has the potential to be very damaging. Population of species on earth declined by an average of 40% between 100 and 2000; and the second biggest direct threat to species survival, after habitat destruction, is wildlife trade. However, the most obvious problem associated with illegal wildlife is that it can cause over exploitation to the point where the survival of a species hangs in the balance. Such exploitation has caused extinction or severely threatened species, and as human population increases, the demand for wildlife also increases.
“Wildlife is a very important component of the ecosystem and it is expedient to stop its illegal trade in order to conserve wildlife for posterity and ecological balance. It is important to note that different species in nature are connected through various food webs, and the disappearance of one species could affect several others down the line.”