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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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Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership and Collaboration

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Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership and Collaboration

By: Michael Mike

Plans are underway to further strengthen areas of partnership and collaboration between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This way revealed during the visit of the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa to the Embassy of UAE in Abuja following the removal of the visa ban by placed on Nigeria by the Arab country.

Dabiri-Erewa who was received by the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, stated that NiDCOM intends to engage and sensitize Nigerians in the UAE to be good ambassadors of their country of stay and country of origin, to excel in whatever they are doing and never to forget home.

She added further “this initiative aims to foster better understanding and compliance with local regulations”, while She disclosing that 190 Nigerians were repatriated to Nigeria, with an additional 250 expected to return soon.

She said the actions of individuals in a host country can greatly impact the overall image of their home country, noting that the role of Western media imperialism in perpetuating negative stereotypes about Nigerians.

The UAE Envoy on his part, explained that the visa ban on Nigeria has been officially lifted.

He confirmed that the Visa on Arrival policy has been canceled for all countries, but assured that the new procedures are designed to facilitate tourism and ensure travelers’ safe return.

The Ambassador expressed his commitment to providing the best possible services for Nigerians, with the support of the determined Nigerian government.

He also acknowledged the UAE’s role in safely repatriating 96 Nigerians at no cost.

Marking his one-year anniversary as the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Al-Shamsi shared his positive impressions of Nigeria, describing it as a beautiful country with warm-hearted people who share similar cultural, religious, Android ethnic backgrounds with the UAE.

He expressed his eagerness to continue collaborating with NiDCOM to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership and Collaboration

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UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

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UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

By: Michael Mike

The United Kingdom Government has hosted a multi-stakeholder meeting in Abuja to discuss how its Serious & Organised Crime (SOC) Prevent Programme is making significant strides in deterring vulnerable young people from joining Organised Crime Groups in Nigeria.

Launched as a three-year pilot in December 2021, the programme is designed to disrupt Nigerian Organised Crime Groups by redirecting at-risk youth towards positive alternatives in Bayelsa, Edo, Zamfara and Lagos states.

In select local governments of these states, the SOC Prevent Programme has established robust structures and delivered various interventions, including Back-to-School Initiatives, Digital Skills Acquisition, Dance and Drama Workshops and Sports Interventions.

Collaborating closely with the Nigeria Police Force, the programme has trained 83 officers in the Prevent methodology, reinforcing the commitment to institutionalise this approach in tackling SOC, and to date, approximately 1,500 beneficiaries across the four states have been diverted from potential involvement in organised crime.

Speaking at the meeting, the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Lever said: “Serious & Organised Crime is a priority for both Nigeria and the UK, and can take many forms. Ranging from online focussed activities like cybercrime to the physical movement of illicit commodities and people in the form of trafficking.

“Our results in Nigeria have proven that the Prevent methodology works, and it has been successful in diverting young people from choosing a life of crime. I believe that the valuable discussions that took place today will smoothen the way for Prevent to be fully institutionalised in Nigeria.”

The meeting included representatives from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Police Affairs, the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), INTERPOL, Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience (OSPRE), Ministry of Police Affairs, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and others.

The Prevent programme is an approach to tackling SOC. Others are Pursue, Protect and Prepare. Prevent methodology looks to prevent or deter people from engaging in SOC by raising awareness of the consequences of SOC and developing techniques to deter people from continuing in criminality.

UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

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Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

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Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

By: Michael Mike

All is now set for the commissioning of multi-million naira installed solar street light by Adeola Odutola College 1979-1984 set as part of the activities lined up to commemorate the 40 years of leaving the school on Friday July 19.

In a statement, the set said the celebration which had earlier been kicked off with a thanksgiving in the Church on Sunday June 16, to mark the 75 years Founder’s Day, will witness a special Jumat service for the commemoration in the school.

According to Abiodun Balogun, the President of Adeola Odutola College Old Students Association 1979-1984 set, stated that the programme will start with the set participating in the morning assembly with the students from 8 a.m followed by a courtesy call on the Principal and Management of the school.

Thereafter, he said there would be commissioning of the installed solar street light at 11.00 a.m donated by the set to the school.

Balogun said the set will join the Muslim community of the School to observe a Jumat service specially for the set .

Other activities lined up for the anniversary include a get together and gala nite where the old students will reunite and reminiscence of their five years stay in the school.

Balogun added that the set is grateful to God for His benevolence on them as it has produced Professors and academicians, top civil servants, businessmen and women, educationists among several others both at home and in the diaspora.

It will be recalled that the set regrouped in 2014 to mark its 30 years in existence with renovation of some classrooms in the school.

Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

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