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Regulating the protection of wildlife: case for the local enforcement of CITES with regard to conservation, poaching and medicinal use of pangolins in Nigeria

K.B. Oyende


The Convention that seeks to address illegal trade in wild animals and plants, the International Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, henceforth CITES, was made in the United States of America in 1973. As at March 2022, 184 States have become contracting parties including Nigeria and the European Union. The CITES aims to control the trafficking in wildlife and to conserve endangered species of animals and plants from extinction. Pangolins are reclusive mammals with protective keratin scales covering their skins, and long sticky tongues that enable them to eat ants and termites. Throughout history, Pangolin scales have been used in traditional African and Chinese medicines, their scaly skins are believed to be rich in substances that promote blood circulation, dispel clotting or swelling, and stimulate lactation in women who fail to produce milk after giving birth. It is also used as treatment on people who suffer from cancer, although these claims have not been fully supported by scientific evidence. However, the eating of Pangolin meat as a delicacy, and the belief in the efficacy of its body parts, have increased demands for Pangolins and their products. This illegal trade in Pangolins may result in overexploitation. A phenomenon that may lead to extinction in species, ecological imbalance, and loss of biodiversity. CITES’s aim is to ban or control this illegal international trade in wildlife, both fauna and flora, and restore ecological imbalance where necessary. Nigeria has adopted the CITES Convention. The paper will discuss the provisions of Nigerian laws which the Nigerian Parliament enacted to give effect to the obligations which the Nigerian State freely subscribed to by adopting the CITES Convention with a view to protecting Pangolins in Nigeria and curtail illegal trade in this endangered species.