Dr Iziaq Salako, Minister of State for Environment, says the Federal Government is worried over illegal killing of elephants and other wildlife species across the country.
Salako, who briefed newsmen on Friday in Abuja, condemned the recent incident in Borno.
“We are deeply concerned about the recent illegal killings of elephants and other wildlife species across the country- the killing of two elephants by the military in Kala Balge, Borno at the instance of a Local Government Chairman.
“Also, the killing of another elephant by a professor from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State; the government will not condone any such dastardly act by any persons or communities involved.
“The ministry also received similar unpleasant information on the killing of two booted eagles that migrated all the way from Europe but met their deaths in both Kebbi and Sokoto States.”
The minister said that efforts were being made by the ministry to retrieve the transmitters attached to the birds and return them to researchers in Europe.
“As a ministry committed to environmental conservation and the protection of wildlife, we strongly condemn such actions that undermine the fragile balance of our ecosystem.
“The public should be aware that Nigeria is signatory to international conventions particularly the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
“The National Focal Point/Management Authority, the Scientific and the Enforcement Authorities of CITES are all domiciled in this Ministry.
“The Ministry of Environment is determined to protect and preserve Nigeria’s Wildlife and the natural ecosystems.’’
Salako said that elephants and eagles were categorised as endangered species; hence, the hunting, capturing, possessing, trading or killing of the wild species were offences liable to prosecution according to the CITES regulations.
“The brutal killings of these wildlife not only reflect a blatant disregard for the importance of wildlife preservation but also highlights the urgent need for enhanced awareness and sensitisation of the public regarding the protection of our natural heritage.
“Furthermore, the ministry will ensure the sensitisation of security personnel deployed in environmentally sensitive areas across the country.
“Such initiatives will focus on creating awareness about the significance of wildlife conservation, emphasising the importance of non-lethal methods in conflict resolution, and promoting sustainable practices to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.’’
According to him, the incident in Kala Balge LGA serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for stronger legislation and effective enforcement measures to safeguard our precious wildlife.
“The ministry will work closely with all stakeholders, including local communities, NGOs, and wildlife conservation organisations to strengthen and implement robust policies that protect our already fragile ecosystem and natural heritage.
“We firmly believe that by taking immediate action, we can prevent such tragic incidents from recurring and foster a culture of respect and coexistence between humans and wildlife.
“We extend our willingness to collaborate and provide expertise to develop sustainable strategies that ensure the long-term welfare of our environment.
“This is in line with the renewed hope agenda and the eight presidential priorities anchored on sustainable use of Nigeria’s natural resources,” Salako said. (NAN)