UNODC: Nigeria Identified as Transit Hub for Illegal Wildlife and Forest Products

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A call to action resounded as Oliver Stolpe, representing the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), highlighted Nigeria’s critical role in illegal wildlife trade during an event commemorating the 2024 World Wildlife Day. Stolpe revealed that Nigeria serves as a pivotal transit hub and consolidation point for illicit trade in wildlife and forest products, emphasizing the alarming scale of the issue.

Speaking on the theme “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation,” Stolpe underscored the significance of technology in protecting wildlife. He presented findings from the ICCWC Toolkit Assessment, which assessed Nigeria’s legal framework and institutional capacities to combat wildlife and forest crimes.

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Stolpe urged collaboration between countries to strengthen interception capabilities and dismantle trafficking networks. He highlighted the need for enhanced enforcement, particularly at ports, where illegal activities persist despite increased scrutiny. Moreover, Stolpe emphasized the involvement of armed groups in illegal logging, posing a grave threat to biodiversity.

Minister of Environment Balarabe Lawal echoed Stolpe’s sentiments, stressing the importance of digital solutions in conservation efforts. Lawal emphasized the need for global collaboration and knowledge sharing to address environmental challenges effectively.

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While advocating for digital innovation, Lawal cautioned against potential risks and urged responsible use of technology. Similarly, Dr. Ibrahim Goni, representing the National Park Service, emphasized the urgency of scaling up efforts to combat wildlife crime amidst security challenges.

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In conclusion, the event underscored the critical need for concerted action to safeguard biodiversity and combat illegal wildlife trade, reaffirming Nigeria’s commitment to environmental conservation.

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