Strengthening Nigeria’s response to the trafficking of wildlife and forestry products (2020-2022)

The “Strengthening Nigeria’s response to the trafficking of wildlife and forestry products” project supported by the Government of Germany and implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) commenced in July 2020. The overall goal of the project is to strengthen the capacity of relevant Nigerian authorities to respond to wildlife and forest crimes.

Nigeria in recent times has evolved into a primary transit hub for trafficking in illicit wildlife products, in particular pangolins, arriving in the country from Central Africa through its porous borders. Illegal pangolin trade in Nigeria seems to have grown significantly in recent years. The country was the reported provenance of at least 51 tons of pangolin scales seized in 2019 (compared to 2 tons in 2015). Nigeria is the primary point of export of pangolin shipments as close to 60% of global pangolin scale seizures in 2019 could be traced back to Nigeria as the source of shipping. 

Presently there are no successful prosecutions of cases of trafficking of wildlife and forestry products in Nigeria, making committing these crimes a low risk high profit illicit activity. Moreover, most large-scale seizures of wildlife products trafficked through Nigerian ports were made in the destination countries suggesting low detection and investigation capacities.

The project seeks to assist Nigerian authorities in tackling more effectively the trafficking of wildlife and forestry products. In order to do so, it will first support the Government of Nigeria in developing a strong policy and strategic framework to better coordinate efforts of the various federal ministries, departments and agencies, state authorities as well as civil society organizations involved.

The project will also provide capacity building activities to enhance the knowledge and skills of frontline officers, investigators, prosecutors and judges to carrying out their respective functions more effectively, ultimately improving the overall response to wildlife and forestry crime in the country. UNODC will support relevant stakeholders efforts in analyzing the existing threats as well as any legal, policy, institutional or capacity gaps which may presently prevent Nigerian relevant authorities in successfully detecting, intercepting, investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating wildlife and forestry crime offences as well as tracing, seizing and confiscating the respective proceeds.

Considering the strong transnational dimension of this crime, the project will also seek to strengthen international cooperation with law enforcement agencies in origin and destination countries of illicit wildlife products.

More on our work against wildlife and forest crime in Nigeria