The Federal Government said it is committed to tackling illegal wildlife trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The government restated the commitment at the 2020 World Wildlife Day. The Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, at the event to make the World Wildlife Day, challenged Nigerians to protect wildlife and plant species to stimulate awareness on conservation and arouse public action.

The minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Wadinga Bakari, said the government is ready to give support for its protection, as it is a signatory to a number of treaties on conservation of Endangered Species.

“There are about 7,895 plant species and over 22,000 vertebrate and invertebrate species which include; insects, fish, birds and mammals. There is a need to rescue these natural resources.”

She also added, effective management of these enormous resources in actualising the Sustainable Development Goals, noting that it’s time to balance the success recorded in the fight against wildlife crimes.

Ikeazor however, argued that to curb this trend, the Nigeria CITES Management Authority form a Joint Task Force to check Illegal Trade of Wildlife Resources partnership with several agencies.

“This inter-agencies collaborations have resulted in intercepting wildlife resources worth over N10 million in 2019. We want to conserve wild species which are now almost driven into extinction due to over exploitation.”

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has enjoined the world to ensure commitment towards sustainable human relationship with the planet.

The Secretary-General in a message to mark the 2020 United Nations World Wildlife Day reminded the people of the need to preserve and sustainably use the variety of life on earth and keeps the planet safe for future generation.

Guterres observed that a world of thriving biodiversity provides the foundation needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of a world of dignity and opportunity for all people on a healthy planet.

“On this World Wildlife Day, let us remind ourselves of our duty to preserve and sustainably use the vast variety of life on the planet. Let us push for a more caring, thoughtful and sustainable relationship with nature.

The global celebration of the United Nations World Wildlife Day, was marked by the representatives of UN Member States, UN System organizations, international and non-governmental organisations, rural communities and youth gathered at the UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva to mark the day at two high-level events.