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Endangered species protection bill passes first reading

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The House of Representatives has initiated the first reading of the Endangered Species Conservation and Protection Bill. Crafted by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Environment and championed by Hon. Terseer Ugbor, Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Environment.

The bill aims to revolutionize existing laws governing wildlife protection and conservation.

In a statement, Hon. Ugbor underscored the pivotal role of the proposed legislation in addressing the urgent need to combat illegal wildlife trade within Nigeria. 

He emphasized the multifaceted approach embedded within the bill, which includes empowering law enforcement agencies with enhanced investigative capabilities and expanding judicial authority to expedite wildlife-related cases.

“This bill signifies our unwavering commitment to protecting Nigeria’s rich biodiversity and natural heritage,” remarked Hon. Ugbor. “By enacting robust legislation, we affirm our dedication to curbing wildlife trafficking and preserving endangered species for future generations.”

The proposed legislation has garnered widespread support from environmental organizations and stakeholders, both domestically and internationally. Tunde Morakinyo, Executive Director of the Africa Nature Investors Foundation, lauded the bill’s introduction as a crucial step toward combating wildlife crime in Nigeria.

 “The enactment of this legislation will bolster ongoing efforts to safeguard our nation’s wildlife and natural ecosystems,” stated Morakinyo.

Mary Rice, Executive Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) UK, echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the pivotal role of legislative frameworks in addressing wildlife trafficking. “This bill represents a significant milestone in Nigeria’s fight against illegal wildlife trade,” remarked Rice. “We commend the government for its commitment to enacting comprehensive measures to combat this illicit activity.”

CEO of the Wild Africa Fund, Peter Knights, expressed optimism regarding the bill’s potential to position Nigeria as a regional leader in wildlife conservation. “The proactive measures outlined in this legislation underscore Nigeria’s dedication to protecting its natural resources and preserving biodiversity,” noted Knights.

The Endangered Species Conservation and Protection Bill will undergo rigorous scrutiny and deliberation through hearings and subsequent readings in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers and stakeholders alike anticipate a thorough examination of the bill, with provisions for public input to ensure its effectiveness in addressing the challenges posed by wildlife trafficking and conservation in Nigeria.

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