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No More Room For Illegal Wildlife Trade -FG

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The Conservator General, National Park Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni, says there is no more room for illegal wildlife trade in the country as offenders will be prosecuted.
Goni, made this known in Abuja when the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) handed over a confiscated parrot to the parks service for keeps and management.
He noted that the confiscation of the bird and its hand-over to the park’s management was a welcomed development, adding that Nigeria would continue to fight against wildlife trafficking.
Goni said Nigeria had been accused by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as a transit root and source of illegal animal trafficking.
“This has given our country a bad name. We are here to redeem that image. Mr President in 2016 reviewed the CITES Act for this reason.
“Based on the Act, most agencies like the National Park Service, NAQS, National Environmental Standard and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA)  and the Department of Forestry in the Ministry of Environment were given additional powers.
“This has made us to work as a team and as a result led to the confiscation of the parrot,’’ he said.
he further said that in the convention Act, the parrot was clearly stated as an endangered bird and must be protected.
“Parrots are beneficial to man in several ways as they serve as stress buster due to their talking nature and help in guarding in homes.
“When well-trained, parrot would be able to pass information to the owner of the house especially if a trespasser comes around.
“A parrot can also tell time about one’s environment. It is highly trafficked because the feathers and inner organs serve as medicine,’’ he said.
Dr Vincent Isegbe, Director General, NAQS, also noted that one of his organisation’s  mandate was‘ to track the in and out of illegal animals’.
Isegbe, who was represented by Dr Yunisa Dakat of NAQS, said that the confiscated parrot was arrested and detained in Lagos for lack of document.
“If our officers discover you don’t have the right documents attached to the animal to travel with, they will confiscate the animal.
“This parrot was seized at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. The people don’t have the document of the bird so we confiscated it and brought it to the parks for keeps,’’ he said.
Also, Yohanna Saidu, Wildlife Conservation Service, commended NAQS for doing its job and taking the pain to move the parrot from Lagos to Abuja for proper management.
According to him, such gesture and collaboration among relevant agencies would help Nigeria to redeem her image globally.
Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director-General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), said the gesture showed that government enforcement agencies were working.
“It sent a message to the would be perpetrators that they will be caught and prosecuted. It will reduce wildlife crime in the nation.
“CITES is an international treaty drawn up in 1973 to protect wildlife against over-exploitation.
“It also has the mandate to prevent international trade from threatening species with extinction. Endangered species is a species of animal or plant that is seriously at risk of extinction,” he said.

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Environment

SanitationTaskforce Inaugurates Enforcement Agents

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The Rivers State Taskforce on Sanitation has charged its enforcement agents to be civil in their approach to duty.
Chairman of the Taskforce, Chief Isoboye Jack gave the charge,at a one day capacity building workshop organised by the taskforce for the enforcement agents in port Harcourt.
Jack urged them to use minimal force in their dealing with the public, adding that anyone caught violating the sanitation laws should be arrested and handed over to the police.
He warned against activities that will tarnish the image of the committee, stressing that the taskforce will not tolerate any act that will bring it into disrepute.
Jack said their responsibility is to enforce all sanitation laws against dumping of refuse at unspecified hours as well as dumping on road medians.
He also said his committee has already mapped out strategies towards sensitising the public on the hazards associated with indiscriminate dumping of refuse.
Speaking with newsmen later,the chairman said   plans are underway  to revive the monthly environmental sanitation exercise,as well as bring back the mobile sanitation court.
Also speaking, a member of the taskforce, Hon.Joshua Olu warned them to avoid alcohol while on duty,noting that they are expected to work with the police to get those who violate the law arrested.
He said enforcement agents will be sent to all nooks and crannies of Port Harcourt city and environs to monitor compliance to refuse laws
Meanwhile, the state police command has pledged to cooperate with the committee to ensure its success.
A Chief Superintendent of Police Kerian Ibe from the Operation Department of the State police command said the police will work with the team to ensure compliance with the law.
He also warned them against taking the laws into their hands.
Secretary of the enforcement agents princess  ibiene ogan said they will work hard to return port Harcourt to it garden city status.

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Community Claims Ownership Of Andoni River Estuary

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The Muma Town Local Council of Chiefs, Traditional Rulers and Elders says its ownership of the Andoni River Estuary is not in dispute.
The community said this in a press briefing in Port Harcourt.
The briefing is against the background  of claims by some communities in Andoni Local Government Area disputing the ownership of the Andoni River Estuary.
Briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, a member of the Chief Council Chief Joshua Loveday said Muma’s ownership of the Andoni river estuary can never be in dispute since muma is the first community to settle in that estuary.
He said other fishing settlements that sprang up around the estuary were allegedly given lands by muma.
“The issue we have now is that there are alot of information spreading round Andoni over who owns Andoni River estuary .
“We know right from time ,even published by the British government in 1931 by Jeffreys intelligence Report on Andoni tribe .’adding that the report stated that Muma was the first community in that axis of Andoni.
He also said the NGO clan council of Chiefs had also settled the matter in favour of muma adding that since then the council has been inviting the muma council of chiefs to a meeting.
According to him the Andoni Traditional Rulers council ought to liase with the Muma council of chiefs on any issues concerning the Andoni River Estuary.
Chief Elect Joshua also called on companies operating in the Area to deal with mumaOn any matter concerning the area.
Joshua also cited the Rivers state law which stated that any community closer to a place is the host community.

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Councillor Decries Flooding In Rivers Community

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Councillor representing Ward 1 in the Andoni Local Government Legislative Assembly, Hon.Timothy John Bibo, has called for action to save the community from incessant flooding.
This was  contained in a post by the media unit of the office of the councillor.
According to the post the lawmaker who spoke under  motion for urgent importance said something needs to be done to save the community from being submerged by flood.
He said the situation has heighten agitation in the area especially now that the rains has fully set in.
Bibo blamed the situation on the continuous encroachment on water right of ways  by property developers and the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in canals and drainages thereby blocking the free flow of water into the river.
He also called on the executive arm of the council to put in place policies to check the trend.
Meanwhile some indigenes of Otunria community have sent  a save our soul message to the Andoni Local Government Council and the state government over the continous flooding of the community.
Mr Idante John, an indigene of Otunria Ngo Town said flooding has affected both commercial activities,while the Ngo health centre sited at Otunria is experiencing low activities as a result of the flooding.
Idante called on the government to come to the aid of the community by constructing drainages and roads in the area.
Other residents who spoke on the issue said some of their property have been destroyed by flood in the community.
They said their sources of livelihood have also been affected and called for urgent attention by the government to check the situation.
It would be recalled that Otunria is one of the major communities in Ngo town headquarters of Andoni Local sent Area.
Otunria houses the Ngo health centre,the model secondary school and other government amenities.
Some residents also access the General Hospital and Magistrate Court Ngo through Otunria
It was against this background that the people are calling on the government to come to their aid.

Stories by John Bibor

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