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Nigeria sanctioned for failing elephants

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The Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES) has sanctioned Nigeria
for failing to meet her obligations to protect elephants and
deal with the rampant illegal ivory trade.
Nigeria, Daily Trust gathered, is a transit route for ivory and
other endangered species as most of the killing and trading
are done outside the country.
The organisation has issued notices to all member countries
recommending that signatories no longer permit trade with
Nigeria, Laos and DR Congo, the two other countries banned
alongside Nigeria.
Reacting to the ban, Mr Fidelis Omeni of the Forestry
Department, Ministry of Environment and CITES Focal
Person for Nigeria, said that the sanction was just a mere
formality.
“We are aware of the ban. Although we were given time to
prepare a National Ivory Action Plan stating how we intend
to deal with ivory sales and transit through the country, we
were unable to do that due to numerous challenges
including finance, capacity and technical know-how,” Omeni
said.
CITES said it was sanctioning Nigeria for failing after
repeated warning to prepare a National Action Plan to be
submitted to CITES by October 2014. “Despite reminders
being issued to Nigeria, Laos and DR Congo in January and
February this year and the deadline being extended until
March 14th no plans have been submitted,” it noted.
The organisation said that the decision to sanction Nigeria
and the other two countries followed its 2014 meeting where
tackling the ivory trade and elephant poaching were
identified as a pressing concern and a number of countries
were listed as not doing enough to halt the trade. Eleven
countries were ordered to produce and submit national ivory
action plans.
“During an inter-sessional meeting in January this year, it
was decided that those countries failing to meet the 14th
March deadline should face trade bans on all CITES
species. The CITES Secretariat has now invoked those
sanctions and issued formal notice to all CITES members to
enforce trade bans with Nigeria and the other two
countries,” the secretariat said in a statement.
Omeni, however, said that the department was trying its
best amidst the challenges it is facing to prepare the
National Action Plan stressing that though the sanction was
for the records, the country needs to show its commitment
to the protection of its wide fauna and flora.

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