WorldStage Newsonline-- The Federal Government of Nigeria has called for the adoption of a resolution on illegal trade in wildlife at the United Nations General Assembly billed to hold later in the year.
The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam who made the observations during the Ministerial Dialogue on: "Illegal Trade in Wildlife" at the first session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, also advocated for the creation of a special window under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for the protection of endangered species.
In a statement in Abuja by her Special Assistant on Media, Josephine Lohor, the Minister assured the gathering that Nigeria is not resting on its oars concerning wildlife crime control, saying, "We have to continue pursuing the three - pronged strategy of handling the poaching and illegal wildlife crisis and this entails community empowerment, improving wildlife governance and discouraging demand for wildlife products.
"The political momentum built here needs to be sustained and we call for the adoption of a resolution on illegal trade in wildlife at the UN General Assembly later in the year.
"We have out in place institutional framework and strategies that has given impetus to wildlife crime control in our country. In line with INTERPOL guidelines, we are expanding the membership of our inter - agency committee on the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES) to upgrade it to the National Environmental Security Task force (NEST).
"Others include the designation of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) as CITES enforcement authority.
"The establishment of the National Inter - agency Committee on CITES Enforcement and through its synergistic efforts, seizures of illicit wildlife products were made able to achieve for the first time, a number of wildlife crime convictions in our law courts."
According to her, Nigeria pays high premium on matters that concern conservation of biodiversity and the protection of endangered fauna and flora.
"Nigeria is signatory to virtually all global agreements on biodiversity. We ratified CITES in 1974 and our first national legislation evolved 30 years ago has been reviewed with inputs from CITES secretariat and the new legislation has been rated first category by CITES," she said.