ENDANGERED SPECIES LAWS IN NIGERIA

  • Endangered species are animals or plants that are more likely to become extinct in the near future, if their population continues to drop due to various threat on such species, regardless of geographical location; either worldwide or in a particular region, such as Africa, Asian and in the Europe.
  • According to a statistic by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species in 2018, lists countries with the highest numbers of species facing the risk of extinction, and includes the following; Ecuador (2,301), the U.S., Malaysia (1,226), Indonesia (1,206) and Mexico (1,074). India, China, Brazil, Tanzania, and Australia round off the top-ten; each of these nations has more than 900 species at risk of extinction on the IUCN Red List.
  • There are about 38,646 Species at risk worldwide listed as Endangered Species and about 513 Species distributed, or endemic are at Risk in Nigeria as Endangered Species amongst others.
  • The World has been confronted with Illegal trade in Wildlife for decades. The scale and nature have changed over recent years due to increased involvement of organized crime groups and now demands a coordinated global law enforcement response.
  • Recognizing that wild fauna (animals) and flora (Plants) species in their many beautiful forms and varied forms are an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the earth which must be protected for this and the generations to come, and believing that cooperation between states and their people who are best protectors of their own species against over-exploitation through international trade, the International community came together to do something about it.
  • They world came together and signed a Treaty, an international agreement concluded between states in written form and governed by international law called CITES, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – an international treaty to prevent species from becoming endangered or extinct because of international trade
  • The text of the Convention was agreed upon at a meeting of representatives of 80 countries in Washington D.C., on March 3rd, 1973. Just over 2 years later, on July 1st, 1975, CITES entered into force. Nigeria was one of the Signatories. Today, 182 countries and the European Union implement CITES, which accords varying degrees of protection to over 35,000 species of animals and plants.
  • Under this treaty, countries work together to regulate the international trade of animal and plant species and ensure that this trade is not detrimental to the survival of wild populations. Any trade however, in protected plant and animal species should be sustainable, based on sound biological understanding and principles.
  • CITES is however not a self-executing treaty. The implementation of CITES obligations requires that policy, powers, rights, duties and procedures be specifies in National legislations. In other words. Effective CITES Implementation is impossible without an adequate legal basis at national or country levels. 
  • The Four minimum Requirements for CITES implementing legislation are stated in Resolution Conf, 8.v (Rev. CoP15):
    1. Designate at least one Management Authority and one Scientific Authority
    2. Prohibit trade in specimens in violation of the Convention
    3. Penalize such actions (prison, financial penalties etc.,) and
    4. Allow for the confiscation of specimens illegally traded or possessed.
  • The Nigeria Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act Decree No. 11 Of 1985: Nigeria’s endangered species act provides for the conservation and management of Nigeria’s wildlife and the protection of some of her endangered species in danger of extinction as a result of over-exploitation, as required under certain international treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory.
  • These laws prohibit and spell out some degrees of punishment for the endanger laws breakers. The law clearly states that:
    1. Prohibition of hunting of or trading in wild animals, this means that no person shall hunt, capture, trade-in, or otherwise deal with an animal species specified to be endangered species, being animals which, though not necessarily now threatened with extinction, may become so threatened unless trade in respect of such species is controlled
    2. Regulation of export and import of species specified as endangered species animals, this states that no person shall trade in any animal specified under the Endangered Species act of 2014 as amended.

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