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Nigeria Burns Massive Seized Wildlife Products

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Nigeria Burns Massive Seized Wildlife Products

By: Michael Mike

Nigerian government on Monday publicly destroyed a substantial quantity of seized wildlife products including pangolin scales alongside leopard, python and crocodile skins for the first time in the nation’s history.

This is perhaps a message that the government was ready to combat wildlife trafficking and protect the nation’s biodiversity.

The incineration event took place in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, with representatives from various government agencies, local and international environmental NGOs, and wildlife conservation experts in attendance.

The incineration was done by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) in collaboration with the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) Foundation, with support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at an occasion where they methodically reduced a total of 3914.08 kilogrammes (nearly 4 tonnes) of seized pangolin scales and 110 kilogrammes of skins from protected species including leopard, python and crocodile to ashes.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Environment. Dr. Iziaq Salako said: “We gather here today to bear witness to a critical moment in the battle to protect our planet’s precious biodiversity. These seized items represent the past we leave behind, but the destruction signifies the future we are determined to build for our planet. The destruction of these seized items is a powerful statement of our resolve to protect our environment, conserve our wildlife, and combat the illegal trade that drives species to the brink of extinction.”

On his part, the Director General/ Chief Executive Officer of NESREA, Professor Aliyu Jauro said: “The illegal wildlife trade is a serious threat to our natural heritage and global biodiversity. Nigeria is committed to playing its part in addressing this crisis. By destroying these pangolin scales alongside leopard, python and crocodile skins, we send a strong message that illegal wildlife trafficking will not be tolerated, and we will take every measure necessary to protect our unique ecosystems and endangered species.”

Pangolins are among the most trafficked mammals in the world, partly because their scales are in great demand for use in traditional medicine in Asia, where their meat is also considered a delicacy. As pangolin populations in Asia have declined, shipments from Africa have greatly increased to meet soaring demand.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I lists all eight species of pangolins (four in Asia and four in Africa), giving them the highest level of legal protection available. However, the unlawful trade in pangolin parts has brought these scaly anteaters dangerously close to extinction. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species presently lists two of the four pangolin species found in Africa as Endangered, which indicates that they are at extremely high risk of going extinct in the wild.

Nigeria has emerged as a source and major transit hub for the trafficking of pangolin scales to Asia. According to the Wildlife Justice Commission, 55 percent of pangolin scale seizures worldwide between 2016 and 2019 were linked to Nigeria. By extension, a team of conservationists led by the University of Cambridge recently examined pangolin product seizures connected to Nigeria and discovered that shipments of pangolin products that were seized and reported by law enforcement officials between 2010 and September 2021 totaled 190, 407 kg, which came from at least 800,000 to as many as a million dead pangolins.

Director of Stockpile Management at the EPI Foundation, Ruth Musgrave said:
“Nigeria’s decision to incinerate seized pangolin scales and other skins is a shining example of a nation taking proactive measures to protect its natural heritage and contribute to the global fight against wildlife crime.”

Nigerian authorities recognize the urgency of protecting this species and have taken significant steps to address the trafficking of pangolins through its borders, including
adopting its first National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime. Subsequently, the government has also established the Wildlife Law Enforcement Task Force (WLETF) of which NESREA is the operational lead, working closely with the Federal Ministry of Environment to address wildlife crime in the country.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of seizures of pangolin scales and prosecution of offenders in Nigeria. The Nigeria Customs Service said that it seized 1,613 tonnes of pangolin scales in 2022 alone and detained 14 people. In May 2023, two individuals were given a four-year prison sentence for conspiring to possess 839.4 kg of pangolin scales and 145 kg of elephant tusks illegally and a clearing agent was sentenced to a six-month prison term in June for illegally possessing a container full of pangolin scales, elephant ivory, tusks, and bones.

In July, a Federal High Court in Lagos sentenced four foreigners to six years in prison for wildlife trafficking.

The Nigerian government, also through NESREA, uses the Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act 2016 and the National Environmental (Protection of Endangered Species in International Trade) Regulations 2011 to tackle wildlife crime.

Founder and CEO of Wild Africa Fund, Peter Knights OBE, has this to say on the war on wildlife trafficking in the country,
“Credit to Nigeria for taking this step towards upping its game by publicly destroying these seized products. Now Nigeria urgently needs to update its outdated wildlife laws by introducing and passing the new wildlife legislation introduced last session, but delayed due to the elections. This would be the next step in a comprehensive response to reduce wildlife crime.”

Environmental organisations and wildlife advocates have praised Nigeria’s actions, hailing them as a positive step toward curbing the illegal wildlife trade. They have called for continued cooperation between government agencies, civil society, and international partners to strengthen enforcement efforts and raise awareness about the importance of preserving biodiversity.

Nigeria Burns Massive Seized Wildlife Products

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Oil Theft: NUJ Confers Meritorious Internal Security Award on Tompolo

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Oil Theft: NUJ Confers Meritorious Internal Security Award on Tompolo

By: Michael Mike

The Nigeria Union of Journalists has conferred its Internal Security Meritorious Award on the Chairman of Tantita Security Services, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo.

The national President of the NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, said that the award was in recognition of the sterling contribution of Tompolo and his firm, TSSL, to the critical campaign against crude oil theft in the country.

Recently, Tantita Security Services Limited working alongside the Navy, the Police, the NSCDC, and others has, intensified the campaign against the theft of the nation’s oil resources arresting and ensuring the forfeiture of vessels used in the committing the crime.

Isiguzo led the national leadership of the NUJ to confer the award on Tompolo in Oporoza, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State on Saturday.

He stressed that the country would have been in some trouble without the patriotic efforts of Tompolo.

Isiguzo said that this was the first time the NUJ in its history would be conveying the Internal Security Meritorious Award of the union on anybody.

The NUJ leader explained further that the Internal Security Meritorious was the only ward approved during its National Security Conference in Abuja and it was given to Tompolo.

He said, “Somebody has risen to the occasion and gathered an array of young men who have taken it upon themselves to help this country continue to survive as a peaceful nation, united and continue to fend for its people.

“And that is the man that has, to a very large extent, substantially, helped us address the issue of crude oil theft.

“That is one thing that has occupied our national life over time. By his commitment, dedication and diligence, Nigeria, as a country, has to a very large extent, reduced the activities of men of the underworld who have consistently engaged in pilfering, taking our common patrimony for their personal gains.

“The NUJ, having assessed the activities of TSSNL, has decided that we must accord the necessary recognition to the man who carries the flag, birthed this security organization, who has exceptionally distinguished himself.

“The NUJ has come to the Oporoza Community in Gbaramatu Kingdom to honour a distinguished son of the Niger Delta; a general in his own right who has distinguished himself, ensures and maintains an appreciable level of internal security.

“We have come to confer on him, the Internal Security Meritorious Award of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.

“In the course of the national security conference, held in Abuja, only one award had been approved and it is conferred on Dr Government Ekpemupolo.

“I’m also excited that I’m doing this after 61 years of the existence of the NUJ, this award is coming up at this time.

“It is not just an honour to Tompolo but also an honour to me too. It is an honour to all of us and what that means is that the issue of insecurity is not just the responsibility of government but of every Nigerian.

“When you provide information, and intelligence to security operatives and agencies, you have contributed in some measures to reducing the problem of insecurity in the land.

“So, it is a collective responsibility, and all hands must be on deck to ensure we address our problems.

“If Nigeria is peaceful, every part of the country, including your household, will be peaceful and that will give birth to development and progress.

He recalled that the Union’s National Security Conference meant to examine the worsening security situation in the country was attended by former Inspector General of Police, and Chairman Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Dr. Solomon Arase, the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike, and a diverse segment of Nigerians.

Isiguzo said that a position paper of the conference on the issue of security will be transmitted to President Bola Tinubu.

In his reaction, the Tantita Security Services Limited restated his promise to end the criminal theft of the nation’s crude oil resources in the Niger Delta region.

He stressed that the country was in serious need of concerted support to stop the activities of those sabotaging the economy for personal gains.

The NUJ President had in his entourage, the National Secretary of NUJ Shuaibu Leman and Delta state NUJ chairman, Churchill Oyowe and others.

Oil Theft: NUJ Confers Meritorious Internal Security Award on Tompolo

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Palestine Envoy Decries Killing of 29,878 in ongoing Gaza war

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Palestine Envoy Decries Killing of 29,878 in ongoing Gaza war

Raises Alarm over Impending Famine, Humanitarian Catastrophe

By: Michael Mike

No fewer than 29,878 people have been killed in the ongoing Israeli -Palestinian war, the Palestinian Ambassador to Nigeria, Abdullah M. Abu Shawesh has decried.

The envoy who expressed concern over possible famine and outbreak of epidemics in Gaza, told Diplomatic Correspondents over the weekend in Abuja, that 70,215 people have been injured and around 8,000 people still missing under the rubble since the 7 October 2023 siege on Gaza by the Israeli military began.

He said: “As of yesterday, the death toll in the Gaza Strip was 29,878 martyrs, with 70,215 injuries and around 8,000 people still missing under the rubble.

“The Ministry of Education declared that in the last 144 days, 5427 students were martyred, 5379 in Gaza and 48 in the OWB, while 9193 were injured, 8888 in Gaza and 305 in the occupied West Bank, (OWB), 97 was arrested in the OWB, including East Jerusalem. 255 teachers and administrative staff were martyred and 891 were injured in the Gaza strip.

“286 government schools and 65 UN schools were subjected to bombardments and sabotage, with 40 of them completely destroyed in Gaza, while 57 schools in the OWB were attacked and sabotaged by the IOF. 620,000 students in Gaza are still deprived of the right to learn, while the majority of students are suffering from trauma and facing devastating health situations.”

He alleged that Israel’s authorities have hidden agenda, which is to make Gaza inhabitants uncomfortable living in their homeland.

He said, “The clear policy is to make Gaza an unlivable place after the war, so that even if the inhabitants are not forced to leave under the fire, they will do so voluntarily due to the lack of hospitals, schools, universities, drinkable water, and other basic necessities for human life.”

The envoy also alleged that within last 144 days, “more than 7270 in the OWB, 228 women, 460 children, 56 of journalists and issued more than 3,800 administrative detention orders.”

He also added, “Eleven of the detainees martyred in the Israeli prisons due to the torture and ill treatment. All this is only from the OWB including East Jerusalem.
“There is no specific number or information about the detention cases of Gaza and Israel is still hiding all the information about them.”

The total number of the Palestinian prisoners on the Israel detention camps is now around 9000 including 3484 administrative detainees.

He equally alleged that more than 200 fanatic Israeli settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque guarded by the occupation force where they performed Talmudic ritual, insisting that meanwhile, the occupation authorities continue to impose restrictions on the Muslim worshiper’s entry to Al-Aqsa preventing all the young men and boys from entering while subjecting all others to be extensively checks.

He added that: “We still insist that the Israeli fanatic and messianic regime is spared no efforts igniting a religious war that if erupted will spare no one.”

Palestine Envoy Decries Killing of 29,878 in ongoing Gaza war

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NEMA deny looting of its warehouse on Sunday in Abuja

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NEMA deny looting of its warehouse on Sunday in Abuja

By: Manzo Ezekiel

The attention of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been drawn to media reports on Sunday alleging that the Agency’s warehouse was looted by some hoodlums in Abuja.

This is to clarify that the looted warehouse does not belong to NEMA. However, the Agency sympathizes with owners of the looted facility.

To forestall any security breach at NEMA facilities, the Director General Mustapha Habib Ahmed has directed Zonal Directors and Heads of Operations to strengthen security in and around the Agency’s offices and warehouses nationwide.

NEMA deny looting of its warehouse on Sunday in Abuja

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