• Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Bill to protect endangered species passes first reading

Bill to protect endangered species passes first reading

A glimmer of hope emerged for Nigeria’s threatened wildlife as a bill aimed at protecting endangered species passed its first reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, prepared by the Ministry of Environment and sponsored by Terseer Ugbor, the deputy chairman of the House Committee on Environment, aims to tackle wildlife trafficking, protect endangered species, and ensure Nigeria’s compliance with global conservation treaties.

“Wildlife trafficking is not just a crime against nature; it is a threat to our planet’s delicate balance. This Bill ensures that we act decisively to protect and preserve these irreplaceable components of our natural heritage, recognizing our responsibility to future generations,” Ugbor said.

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Ugbor said, “This legislation is not just about what happens within these legislative walls; it’s about a collective effort. In the face of escalating environmental challenges, this bill is a beacon of hope. It reflects our commitment to a sustainable future, where humans and wildlife coexist harmoniously. Let us pass this legislation for the sake of our planet, for the generations to come, and for the preservation of Nigeria’s natural heritage”.

“If enacted, the legislation would bring Nigeria in line with international standards and agreements. By aligning domestic legislation with global treaties and conventions, Nigeria demonstrates its commitment to being a responsible and active participant in the global effort to tackle wildlife trafficking and protect endangered species such as lions, elephants, gorillas, pangolins, chimpanzees and many more.”

Africa Nature Investors Foundation (ANI), the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Wild Africa Fund (WAF) have been actively supporting the Nigerian government’s efforts to fight illegal wildlife trafficking, with support from the UK Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund and the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

“The enactment of this landmark bill will strengthen efforts to address wildlife crime in Nigeria and its reintroduction in the House of Representatives attests to the resolve of the Nigerian government to find a lasting solution to the problem. ANI Foundation will continue to work with its partners to support its swift enactment,” Tunde Morakinyo, ANI executive director, said.

Mary Rice, executive director of EIA UK stated: “Criminal justice responses against wildlife trafficking can only succeed within the framework of robust legislation, enabling investigators, prosecutors and the judiciary to deliver justice. EIA is proud to have supported the development of this bill so far, and urges Nigerian lawmakers to see through its enactment without delay.”

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Peter Knights, chief executive officer at WAF added: “If passed swiftly, this state-of-the-art legislation will make Nigeria the regional leader it needs to be in fighting wildlife crime and helping wildlife across the African continent.”

The Endangered Species Conservation and Protection Bill will proceed to hearings and subsequent readings for further scrutiny from lawmakers and public input.