The Nigerian federal government has made a decision to build a monument in Abuja using crushed elephant tusks. This symbolic structure aims to underline the nation’s deep appreciation for these majestic creatures and to firmly declare its uncompromising stance against illicit trading in ivory and tusks. Government has crushed 2.5 tonnes of elephant tusks and ivory in Abuja, with a market value worth ₦9.9 billion. Minister of State, Environment and Ecological Management, Hon. Ishak Salako expressed during the Abuja crushing event that this act is to show the international community the significance of elephants to our nation and willingness to preserve them.
During the public disposal of confiscated wildlife stockpiles under the custody of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Salako reminisced about the historical event of Nigeria’s suspension from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) trade due to the surge in illicit wildlife trafficking and insufficient regulatory measures. In 2011, the CITES Secretariat lifted the suspension after a successful collaborative initiative led by NESREA, which involved a committee of nine member agencies responsible for enforcing CITES regulations in Nigeria.
This act shows Nigeria will not permit wildlife trafficking.
According to him, Nigeria has made the decision to completely dispose of its stockpiles of elephant tusks and ivory at the NESREA by pulverizing them. Prior to that, on October 16th, 2023, pangolin scales and other skin products were incinerated. Salako stated that the act of complete obliteration is a powerful means to globally demonstrate the nation’s unwavering stance against any form of illegal wildlife trade. The act also serves as a strong deterrent to dissuade those engaged in the unlawful trafficking of wildlife across the country.
He expressed immense pride in the country’s position at the forefront of combating the illicit ivory trade. The ivory crush event that took place represents Nigeria’s resolute dedication to conserving wildlife and safeguarding our invaluable natural treasures. By expunging these confiscated ivory stockpiles, we assert a powerful declaration that our nation will not permit the abhorrent act of wildlife trafficking within our borders. With this act, Nigeria is making a strong statement, urging the international community to unite efforts in eliminating this unlawful commerce that poses a grave danger to elephants’ existence.
Only 415,000 elephants remain in Africa currently.
Professor Aliyu Jauro, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of NESREA, voiced his belief that the elimination of confiscated ivory is a concrete action in the fight against wildlife trafficking. In his words, Nigeria’s current deeds hold immense importance as they aim not only at safeguarding the magnificent elephants for generations to come but also at firmly conveying Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to go to any lengths necessary to shield our elephants and other endangered species.
Despite the UN CITES placing a ban on the global ivory trade since 1989, elephants continue to be ruthlessly slaughtered each year for their tusks. The recent African Elephant Status Report reveals a disheartening decline in elephant numbers, with a current estimate of approximately 415,000 elephants remaining in Africa today compared to the staggering 1.3 million that roamed the continent in 1979. Currently, Nigeria is home to just around 400 elephants. Expressing deep pride, John Scanlon, CEO of the Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation (EPIF), proclaimed that his organization unequivocally supports the Nigerian Government as they undertake the solemn act of crushing seized ivory.
Related Article: Nigeria burns seized wildlife products
While the crushing did not put an end to the illicit trade of elephant tusks, it will effectively deter any ill-gotten gains from this prohibited good. Combined with the recent confiscation of ivory and the judiciary process that led to the conviction of culprits, it delivers a robust statement that Nigeria refuses to endure this unlawful trade. It also demonstrates Nigeria’s decisive measures in safeguarding its dwindling elephant community. Our organization eagerly anticipates further collaboration, assisting Nigeria in stockpile management and various matters concerning conservation, he said.