The Minister of Environment, Barrister Mohammed H. Abdullahu on Monday launched the National Strategy Document on Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime in Nigeria (2022-2026).
The event took place at the NAF Conference Center in Abuja.
The National Strategy Document which has the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) is aimed at tackling Wildlife and Forest Crime as well as achieving sustainable forests management that will also address climate change.
Speaking during the launch, the minister said the goal of the document is to free Nigeria of wildlife and forest crime through enhancing institutional capacity, strengthened legal frameworks, increasing collaboration and raising awareness of wildlife crime and designing alternative means of livelihood for dwellers of local communities. He assured that the ministry under his watch will provide all technical and necessary support for the full implementation of the national strategy.
Minister of State for Environment, Mrs Sharon Ekeazor in her remarks said the document is an embodiment of all that is needed to reverse the negative trend of social, political and economic impacts of wildlife crime in Nigeria. She stated that with a well spelt out strategic goal and objectives coupled with implementation coordination and implementation framework, the document has the potential to facilitate the reduction in the rate of wildlife and forest crimes in Nigeria.
The strategic aim of the document includes: Tackling wildlife and forest crime in Nigeria, achieving sustainable management of the environment, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.
The Document’s scope of interventions is to tackle transnational and domestic wildlife and forest crime; tackle marine, freshwater and terrestrial crime and track the transport and financial flows.
NNH reports that Nigeria was once home to several wild animals, but due to habitat loss and poaching, they have disappeared. The illegal logging of trees for firewood and other purposes has also adversely affected the country’s rich forest reserves.
The campaign to strengthen Nigeria’s response to the trafficking of wildlife and forestry products is facilitated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funded by the government of Germany and other development partners.