Wildlife and Forest Crime

Nigeria in recent times has evolved into a primary transit hub for trafficking in illicit wildlife products 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. Out of 11 notable seizures made in 2019, 7 had Nigeria as the reported country of origin.

Moreover, from around 2011, great volumes of a particular species of rosewood, Pterocarpus erinaceus known in Nigeria as “kosso”, were exported from Nigeria to China. According to CITES, close to 60% of global imports of kosso in 2017 were exported from Nigeria. While rosewood trade is not illegal as such, UNODC found that the flow of kosso from Nigeria to Asia is illegally sourced as it violates harvest and export laws. In October 2018, the CITES Standing Committee recommended that parties suspend commercial trade in kosso from Nigeria until the country carries out a non-detriment findings assessment for trade in the species.

Data also suggest an increasing role of Nigeria in trafficking in ivory. Despite a global decline in trafficking in ivory since 2011-2013, Nigeria has been identified as part of the illegal trade chain in seizures of 5,629 kg in the period 2009-2011, to approximately 11,769 kg in the period 2012-2014, and to approximately 12,211 kg in the period 2015-2017.

Our work

UNODC is providing tailored technical assistance to frontline officers, investigators, prosecutors and other stakeholders to improve detection and interception of illicit wildlife products and secure successful investigation and prosecution of wildlife crime cases. Since 2019, UNODC has been engaging with the Ministry of Environment (via the CITES focal point) and relevant law enforcement agencies, international partners and civil society organizations to strengthen coordination and promote information sharing on wildlife and forest crime matters.

Our partners

Key partners for UNODC's work in this area include, among others, the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Nigeria Customs Service, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, various law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations.

Our projects

Within the framework of the Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime and with the support of the Government of Germany, UNODC seeks to strengthen Nigeria’s criminal justice response to the trafficking of wildlife and forestry products.

Between 2020 and 2021, UNODC will undertake a broad assessment of the national criminal justice and preventive response using the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) Analytical Toolkit and Indicator Framework. UNODC will also conduct a corruption risk assessment of the wildlife sector in Nigeria. This intervention is made possible through a generous contribution of the European Union to ICCWC.