– The Sun News

Nigerian’s wildlife: An economy forgotten

There is no denying the truth that Nigerian wildlife architecture has completely collapsed. The wildlife, Nigeria’s flora, fauna and marine ecosystem, is in a shambles, neglected and abandoned to rot.

Our ecological road map, if we ever had any, is in total jeopardy, an orphan with no bailout fund from government and no tears from a society that has lost its values for nature and natural resources protection.

The history of Nigeria’s absolute disregard and disdain for this all-important natural resources blood bank of an economy is laced with landmines of ignorance, fraud and a mafia-like organised intent to fritter away the gains by the greedy few in our society.

How then does this hatred and rape of our natural resources play out and who benefits? In the environmental crime world and in which criminals in wildlife and natural resources abound, their major collaborators are usually government officials who work hard to deny the country and society the need to know how the natural resources economy uplifts a nation in its drive to maintain a balance between man and nature, provide the needed reservoir for food, water, medicine, tourism and history-cultural narratives.

The wild world, particularly where it enjoys some form of protection and support, provides a natural resources laboratory, which enhances quality and quantitative research that has lead to discoveries in medicine, pharmacology, growth in agriculture and some futuristic, preventive antidote against human-induced activities against Mother Earth.

Most educated Nigerians and addicts of National Geographic television and many who have visited South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia and Cameroun on ecological tourism tours sadly live in denial of the truth that Nigeria has some of the world’s most virgin and unspoilt natural resource areas.

It is also evident from the lack of concern shown by Nigerians and the federal government to the recent upsurge in the criminal rape of our natural resources blood bank by foreigners and their Nigerian collaborators that all is not well with our natural resources management and protection.

In the past few weeks, three containers laden with species of wild snakes, pangolin scales, elephant tusks were impounded by the Customs service. Indeed, the illegal trade in wildlife resources and export of the finest timber products from our forest ecosystem has exposed Nigeria’s poor attention to this economy, for which the recent haul intercepted by the Customs was put at over N5 billion.

The major intention of this intervention is not only to draw the attention of the federal government to the need to overhaul the Ministry of Environment for not being proactive in checking this development and creating a national awareness on the importance of natural resources to Nigerian economy but also to advise the National Assembly to pay more attention to this key area of our future well-being as a people and nation.

In other climes, there would have been a national outcry against the emerging organised criminals boldly walking through our forests to steal our national assets and goldmines and possibly a directive from government to relevant agencies to investigate these illegal activities.

Nigeria is not only a signatory to a number of international conventions on natural resources conservation and used to be an active participant and beneficiary of the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), but we seem to have lost the respect of the international community due to our attitude and neglect of our natural resources ecosystem.

Today, our natural resources protected environment located in Borno/Yobe, Kaduna, Taraba, Cross-River, Oyo, Edo and Niger states are all flags of kwashiorkor and government neglect. The national parks are starved of funds and the consequences are becoming glaring and obvious.

Apart from nature thieves, Boko Haram terrorists and criminal herdsmen have found these protected enclaves easy targets to perpetrate their nefarious acts and no one is crying out and carrying placards. Why give money to protect mere forests and the wild animals when human beings are hungry, the pessimists and the ignorant would chorus, despite proven facts that these places are critical and germane to the immediate and future survival of Nigerians and mankind in general.

To continue to neglect our natural resource base is to fast-track the sentence of Nigeria to a judgement of famine and environmental backlash. Sadly, the signs are here but we can still salvage our national parks through effective funding and mentoring. Anything short of providing this immediate intervention will sooner than later take us back to Egypt of suffering and climatic apocalypse.


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August 2018
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