By Osamudiamen Idemudia

The federal government has destroyed about 2.5 tonnes of stockpiles of confiscated elephant tusks worth about 9.9 billion naira in Abuja.

The crushing of the elephant tusks was done by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, in collaboration with the Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation.

The Minister of State for Environment, Dr Iziaq Salako said the destruction of the seized items was a part of the government’s resolve to protect the environment, conserve wildlife, and combat the illegal trade.

“ln 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, while pangolin scales and other skin products were earlier incinerated on 16th October 2023. The option of outright destruction is aimed at showing the entire world that Nigeria is zero tolerant to illegal wildlife trade at any level and to serve as a deterrent to the illicit wildlife traffickers who use Nigeria as their transit route”.

Dr Salako said the ashes of the crushed tusks would be used to construct a monument in remembrance of the elephants that were killed.

The Director General of NESREA, Professor Aliyu Jauro who said illegal wildlife trade is a serious threat to the nation’s natural heritage and global biodiversity, explained that the destruction of the elephant tusks was a strong warning to wildlife criminals that illegal wildlife trafficking will not be tolerated.

“The destruction of the confiscated ivory is a tangible step towards stamping out wildlife trafficking. We stand united against the illegal trade and our actions today are not only crucial in preserving the majestic elephants for future generations but also in sending a clear message that Nigeria will do whatever it takes to protect our elephants and other endangered wildlife”.

According to the CEO, Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation, EPIF, Mr John Scanlon, “The elephant protection initiative is honoured to stand with the government of Nigeria at today’s ivory crushes. The destruction of confiscated elephant ivory in Abuja will not, in itself, put an end to the trafficking of elephant ivory, it will, however, ensure that no one will ever profit from this contraband. We look forward to continuing our support to Nigeria with stockpile management and other conservation-related issues”.

A total of about 2.5 tonnes of ivory and elephant tusk specimens worth about 9.9 billion naira were destroyed through the support of the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) African Fund, the US Embassy, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, UNODC, Wildlife Conservation Society, WCS, and Wild African Fund, other development partners and the Federal Ministry of Environment.

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