FG, Customs unveil tools to combat wildlife trafficking

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The Federal Government on Monday handed over some equipment to the Nigeria Customs Service for it to use in the fight against poaching and trafficking of wildlife by illegal traders in Nigeria.

Speaking at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Environment, while unveiling and handing over the equipment to the NCS, the Minister of Environment, Suleiman Zarma, noted that the fight to stem illegal trafficking of wildlife fauna and flora from and through the country was a collective one.

Zarma noted that international trade in ivory was banned in 1989 and since then there had been a burgeoning illegal trade, which was greatly contributing to the depletion of the elephants in the wild.

He said, “But I must say that Nigeria has been able to curtail activities of illegal poaching and thus, our elephants in their natural ecosystems are amongst the most protected in the world. Unfortunately, the impact of globalisation has predisposed us to be associated with this illegal trade as the country has become a thriving hub for these illegal exports.

“The global community is aware that Nigeria is being used as a transit and are willing to provide us with all the necessary support to stop these products from transiting through our country.”

The minister stated that it was in the light of the above that at the International Wildlife Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trafficking in October 2018 in London, that the International Fund for Animal Welfare presented six sets of toolkits for retrieving finger/palm marks evidence off ivory.

“So it gives me great pleasure to hand over these tools for the retrieval of finger/palm mark evidence off ivory to the Nigeria Customs Service,” he added.

The minister explained that the tools had the forensic capacity to detect and document fingerprints/palm marks, including the source of any person that had come in contact with the ivory that was illegally traded.

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