Ministry of Environment destroys poached elephant tusks worth N9.9 billion
The Ministry of Environment has announced the destruction of about 2.5 tonnes of poached elephant tusks valued at around N9.9 billion according to a Reuters estimate.
This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Isiaq Adekunle Salako at an event held in Abuja today to publicly dispose of accumulated confiscated wildlife stockpile.
According to the Minister, Nigeria has become a major transit hub for illegal wildlife trafficking together with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Burkina-Faso and Ghana.
The Minister of State stated that the government has pulverized the tusks and intends to utilize the powder to construct a symbolic national park monument.
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This monument will serve as a poignant reminder of the significance of elephants in the ecosystem.
- “Ladies and gentlemen, you may be aware that in compliance with CITES Resolution Conf. 9.10 (Rev. CoP15) and Conf, 10.7 (Rev. Cop 15) on disposal of seized and confiscated live and dead wildlife specimens, Nigeria has opted for the outright destruction of these stockpiles through pulverization of elephant tusks and ivories”
- “Today, a total of about 2.5 tonnes of ivories and elephant tusk specimens will be destroyed under the watch of the Federal Ministry of Environment and with the support of the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) African Fund, the US Embassy, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Wild African Fund.”
- Although Nigeria is a signatory to CITES, it is recognized as a central location for criminal networks involved in trafficking illegal African wildlife components, such as tusks and pangolin scales, to Asia, as reported by law enforcement and wildlife experts.
- However, the nation has intensified its efforts to combat smuggling in recent years. It has collaborated with British, U.S., and German officials, along with international organizations, leading to its largest confiscation of illegal wildlife parts in August 2021.
- In 2022, Nigerian customs officials successfully seized 1,613 tonnes of pangolin scales and apprehended 14 individuals which were destroyed in 2023.