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. Nigeria is suspended from CITES wildlife trade pact

by Staff Writers
Abuja (AFP) March 20, 2008
Nigeria has been suspended from the International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species for alleged breaches of its provisions, an environment ministry official said Thursday.

Fidelis Omeni, who monitors the west African country's adherence to the international pact, said that Nigeria is held to have failed to respect CITES clauses on illegal trade in endangered species.

The Nigerian news agency NAN said that such a suspension would mean a total ban on imports or exports of every species of fauna and flora covered under the convention, which Nigeria ratified in 1974.

Omeni said authorities had made insufficient progress in cracking down on an illicit traffic. Some parts of Nigeria are known as centres for outlawed trade in endangered wildlife from within and outside the country.

The CITES agreement was drawn up between 1963 and 1973 and has been ratified by 172 parties, according to the convention's Internet site. Its secretariat in Geneva is administered by the UN Environment Programme.

Nigeria was already warned in 1974 over breaches concerning the traffic of protected animal species.

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