44 international routes in Adamawa unmanned – WCS report
In a sweeping revelation that underscores the urgency of bolstering security measures and enhancing wildlife conservation initiatives, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has disclosed that forty-four international routes traversing Northeast Nigeria’s Adamawa state, Chad, and Cameroon remain unmanned.
The startling findings underscore the necessity for swift, effective measures to combat both the potential threat to national security and the increasing menace of Illegal Wildlife Trafficking.
The exhaustive research conducted by the WCS draws attention to a network of 63 routes, out of which a mere 19 are patrolled by inadequately equipped government security forces.
This glaring disparity highlights the vulnerability of these channels to exploitation for unlawful activities, particularly wildlife trafficking.
Unveiling these findings in Yola, Adamawa’s capital, was Elisha Bello, the WCS Counter Wildlife Trafficking Advisor, during a two-day capacity-building program designed to engage and educate the Judiciary and other law enforcement agencies in Adamawa and Bauchi states.
The primary goal of this workshop, as articulated by Bello, is to bolster the effectiveness of prosecution strategies tackling Illegal Wildlife Trafficking.
The initiative is also aimed at combating the rampant poaching of protected animals within the Nigeria-Cameroon green corridor and adjacent communities.
Bello iterated the need for heightened vigilance, saying, “Adamawa is more vulnerable and it’s time for the government to strengthen the borders.”
This program served as a platform for participants to delve into the glaring deficiencies present in the current prosecution system for wildlife trafficking cases.
One of the major concerns that surfaced was the alarming surge in poaching activities at the Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi state.
This scenario highlights the necessity for a robust legal framework to deter and penalize such illicit activities effectively.
Further issues pinpointed as contributing to the continued problem of wildlife trafficking encompass slow and weak prosecution of offenders, lack of follow-up on cases, and the unethical release of convicted poachers through corrupt practices.
These concerns, if left unchecked, could significantly hamper conservation efforts and escalate illegal wildlife trade.
The engagement was greeted with enthusiasm by Abubakar Hamid, the Adamawa State Coordinator of the National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency.
He underscored the value of such collaborative measures among sister agencies to tackle the porous border situation in Adamawa.
Hamid also highlighted the necessity of educating judges on environmental issues, stating, “most of our judges are not well informed about environmental matters… they need to be furnished with the relevant knowledge so that when they are carrying out their judicial duties they know what to do.”
This revelation underlines the critical need to tackle wildlife trafficking in a comprehensive and efficient manner.
A more robust security presence, enhanced legal enforcement, and rigorous prosecution strategies will be crucial in curbing this illicit trade.
Moreover, capacity-building measures such as the one conducted by WCS provide a platform for the necessary inter-agency collaboration and knowledge-sharing required to effectively tackle this issue.
With Adamawa’s borders in urgent need of strengthening, it is imperative for all stakeholders to rally together and fortify their efforts to safeguard the country’s wildlife and ensure national security.
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