ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – An environmental protection advocacy group has bemoaned the activities of some unscrupulous Chinese who are involved in depletion of Nigeria’s forest reserve.
The group, the National Ecosystem Advocates of Nigeria (NEAN), in a statement made available to Sundiata Post at the weekend, said “Our observations reveal that some Chinese who enter the country on the guise of construction workers fraudulently turn some of our nation’s forests and bushes into safe heaven for the destruction of our flora and fona for their selfish material and economic gains.” The statement signed by Comrade Ben Iguabor and Silas Modaccai, national coordinator and national secretary, respectively, bemoaned the systematic destruction of the Nigerian ecosystems by the illegal activities of some Chinese in the country.
It called on the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to curtail the influx of Chinese in the country.
The statement reads: “As an association, which primary goal is to monitor and ensure the preservation and maintenance of the nation’s ecosystem, we have found it expedient to sound the alarm over the dangers posed by the menacing and criminal activities of some unscrupulous Chinese in our nation’s forests, bushes and water areas.
“Unfortunately, these illegal Chinese find easy collaborators among some unpatriotic Nigerians who aid them in perpetrating the violation of animals and timbers in our forests and bushes.
“In particular, illegal buying and slaughtering of donkeys in parts of the Southeast and Northwest for export has continued to thrive among these unscrupulous Chinese and their local collaborators. We understand that donkey meat, as well as their hides and skins are very highly sought after in China, which is unable to meet its local needs, hence the pressure and resort to illegal importation from countries like Nigeria. As if the illegal killing and export of donkeys from Nigeria by these Chinese are not enough, they have recently resorted to assaulting and harming guards of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) who attempt to check their nefarious activities and their collaborators.
“On two occasions in January this year and only last Tuesday, agents of the Chinese were reported to have organized heinous attacks on NAQS guards as well as some police personnel attached to them in Ebony State, carted away weapons of the police and inflicted serious injuries on those guards. Following this ugly development, we are imploring the Inspector General of Police to immediately order the arrest and prosecution of those behind these dastardly acts.
“We are concerned that if the relevant agencies of our Governments do not act fast, donkeys may soon go into extinction considering the frequency they are being poached by these Chinese.
“Regrettably, efforts by the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services being spare-headed by the Director General and Commandant of the agency Dr. Vincent Isegbe through the construction of monitoring outposts across the country, has failed to yield the desired outcomes because of the collaborative support of these unpatriotic Nigerians as well as some personnel of the Nigerian Customs Service, who compromise their office and turn blind eyes to the illegal export of the donkey meats and products.
“In some other instances, these criminal Chinese also poach some species of birds, crocodiles and other animals, again for illegal export into their countries.
“These Chinese also extend their criminal acts in the illegal plundering of timbers in our forests and bushes, again with the active connivance of some of our unpatriotic citizens.
“We therefore, subsequently, call upon the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to live up to its statutory responsibilities by monitoring and ensuring that foreigners, in this case, Chinese, who come into our country are permitted purely on need-basis, even as they are also joined to carry out routine renewal of expatriates work permits to ensure compliance the nation’s extant laws.
“We in addition, appeal to members of the National Assembly to strengthen the powers of the NAQS, through the review of the act setting up the agency.
“Moreover, there is the necessity of all the sister agencies of the NAQS for proper collaboration if the menace posed by these foreign criminal elements must be tackled.”