By: Joshua Adinoyi
Nigerians have been called upon to contribute their quota at helping to preserve endangered species from going into extinction.
Kogi State Coordinator of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Field Office, Lanre Jimoh, made the call during a Sensitization at Ganaja Community in Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Jimoh, who said the call became necessary following the recent killing of a massive hippopotamus in the State, explained that the multiplication effect of endangered animals and plants takes longer period, saying that killing such plants and animals will result them going into extinction.
He noted that all creatures deserves protection, pointing out that NESREA in collaboration with other relevant bodies have put measures in place to handle cases of stray wild animals.
“Endangered Species are those species of animals or plants that are seriously at the risk of extinction
“Hippopotamus are endangered species, they take longer period before they give birth and they are not common as well
“The hippo that was killed must have came as a result of the 2022 flood that affected the State because ordinarily, they have their habitant
“If we continue to kill endangered animals and plants, time will come that they will no longer be in existence and all that will be left will be history
“Nigeria is a Member of a convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of fauna and flora and it’s a crime to trade in them
“Endangered animals should not be traded or killed as it is an offence that is punishable
“Please, let’s try our best and protect all endangered species so that generations to come will see them” he pleaded.
Jimoh listed some of the endangered animals to include hippopotamus, python, elephant, tiger, among others, saying that collective efforts should be intensified at preserving them.
He advised the residents to notify relevant authorities whenever any of the endangered species are sighted, explaining that measures have been put in place to retrieve them back to secured places, especially to the zoo.
“Once you inform us that you sight the endangered species in your Area, we will ensure that the animals are temporarily kept at a holding facility before being taken back to their natural habitat” Jimoh noted.
Residents of Ganaja Community appreciated NESREA for the Sensitization, describing it as an eye opener.
Some of the residents who are fishermen and farmers, asked the Kogi State NESREA Coordinator of what to do in situations where the Endangered animals become threat to life or destroys farm produce, and relevant Authorities to contact when they are sighted.
Lanre Jimoh, while responding to their questions, enjoined them to first avoid such areas the moment the endangered animals are sighted, then contact government Authorities whom he explained would take the necessary actions.
On the destruction of farm produce and crops, he assured that the government knows what to do in such cases, calling on them to join hands in the quest of ensuring Endangered animals and plants are protected.
As part of efforts at driving NESREA’s quest of protecting wild life especially the endangered species, he dropped his phone number for the people to call the Agency should, they sight any endangered species in their locality.
He assured the people that immediate action will be taken by NESREA in case of any distress call on the sighting of endangered species, adding that adequate compensation will also be made to serve as encouragement to others to do same.
Early November 2022, news and pictures of a massive hippopotamus that was killed at the Ganaja Axis of Rivers Niger/Benue hit the air wave and caused stirs and different reactions from various quarters.
While some described the killing of the hippo as improper, other internet users commented that hippos are aggressive and kills human, hence the need to attack them when sighted.
In view of the need for human to protect themselves from being a prey and the need to protect endangered species, the onus now lies on the Federal, State Government, Zoologists and other relevant stakeholders to map out strategies on establishing either temporary or permanent Zoo in all States of the Nation where endangered species can be kept when sighted.
While calling for more Sensitization of the populace, Agency, as NESREA should also demonstrate to the people practically, the measures they have put in place to ensure that endangered species can be escorted to safe haven when cases are reported.
Robust collaboration between NESREA, Traditional rulers, Community leaders, security operatives such as the Police, Hunters, Forest Guards, among others, is also necessary as they serve as the first point of contact to the locals.