The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Thursday rescued a lion cub from wildlife traffickers in Abuja the Federal Capital Territory.
Acting on a tip-off, a combined team from NESREA, the Nigerian Police Force, and the National Park Service swung into action, rescued the cub, and arrested the suspects as they tried to sell off the animal for N6 million.
Speaking on behalf of the Director-General of NESREA, Aliyu Jauro, the Director of Environmental Quality Control, Mr. Ayuba Jacob said the operation was carried out because the animal was among the endangered species listed in the extant wildlife laws including International Conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“Lions, like other endangered species are prohibited from illegal possession and open sale both locally and internationally under different conventions and regulations. Nigeria is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),” he said.
“We have the National Environmental (Protection of Endangered Species in International Trade) Regulation 2011 and the Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) (Amendment) Act, 2016.”
The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, rescued a lion cub from wildlife traffickers.
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Mr Jacob went further to add, “this is a criminal offense. Such acts bring disgrace to Nigeria in the International Community if not curtailed. We always carry out sensitization exercises on topical environmental issues, and we enlighten hunters on endangered species.”
He warned citizens to desist from environmental crimes as the agency will continue its war against perpetrators, saying, “People should know that there are animals and plants that are conserved so they don’t go into extinction.”
The director said investigation was still ongoing and the suspects will be charged to court appropriately while the animal has been transferred to the appropriate custodial center pending further necessary actions as provided by extant laws.