By Ebere Agozie
Abuja – Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril, Minister of State on Environment, says the Federal Government will support the implementation of CITES to tackle illegal trade in wild fauna and flora species in Nigeria.
Jibril said this when a team of technical officials from CITES Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja on Wednesday.
CITES — Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora — is a multilateral treaty designed to protect endangered plants and animals.
He said that Nigeria was once a co-proponent and defender of the transfer of all African pangolins from CITES Appendix II to I and Pterocarpus Erinaceus (Rose Wood) from CITES Appendix III to Appendix II in COP17 in South Africa in 2016.
“The Ministry of Environment has also signed the CITES permits with stringent guidance and laid-down procedures, which must be met by wood exporters and other clients.
“We have also held series of meetings with stakeholders, creating awareness on the guidelines and procedures for the export of wood and wood products, in addition to other endangered species of wild fauna and flora,’’ he said.
Carlos Juan-Vasquez, the Chief Legal Affairs and Compliance Officer in CITES Secretariat, said it was important for local authorities to fight crimes related to wildlife trade.
Juan-Vasquez also underscored the need to adopt pragmatic poverty alleviation strategies that would stem illegal trade in wildlife in local communities.