Nigeria becoming primary transit hub of wildlife products – UN

By Nneka Nwogwugwu

The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC), Ms Ghada Whaly, said that Nigeria is fast becoming a “primary transit hub” of wildlife products.

While bemoaning the illicit trafficking of wildlife products from Eastern and Central Africa, she said that the UNODC is ensuring feasible partnership with diverse groups of stakeholders, including key law enforcement agencies to ensure that trafficking of wildlife products are halted in Nigeria.

She said Nigeria has evolved into a primary transit hub for trafficking in illicit wildlife products from Eastern and Central Africa.

According to the UNODC World Wildlife Crime Report 2020, Nigeria has less than 1% of Africa’s elephants yet between 2015 and 2019 the country was the leading source of elephant tusk seizures accounting for 23% of global seizures.

She added that 60% of global pangolin scale trafficking is traced back to Nigeria as the source of shipments. This February 2, the Nigeria Customs Service conducted an operation in Awoyaya, Lekki Lagos, arresting four suspects and seizing 839.40 kilograms of pangolin scales and 145 kilograms of elephant ivory.

“I commend Nigeria for taking the government’s action to address this growing problem. This five-year national strategy is a major step towards tackling wildlife and forest crime through a sustainable and strategic approach,” the UNODC boss said at the launch of Nigeria’s national strategy to combat wildlife and forest crime.

Campaigners say illegal trafficking of wildlife happens to be a multibillion-dollar business involving the plundering of and illegal trade of live animals, plants or parts and products derived from them. Wildlife is traded as skins, leather goods or souvenirs; as food or traditional medicine; as pets, and in many other forms.

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