By Frank Meke
He stands tall and majestic. He’s six years old and matured, lives in a world of its own, not troubled but protected by Park Rangers in Okomu National Park biosphere in Edostate.
This male antelope has no name but I gave him a name, a baptism of sort, done without water and fanfare, just a naming ceremony, from a heart, full of love and compassion to a voiceless being, freed from merciless hunters and poachers.
He bears henceforth, Meke 3, yes, Meke 3, and goes into history as sharing a surname with me. There are many of his likes, threatened daily in our forests, many not lucky to escape human scrouge and cruelty.
Unknown to many people, Nigerians in particular, our forests ecosystems are sadly threatened, with the floras and fauna resources endangered.
The very sad case of our forest beings will bring tears our generally simplic population, 200 million people, whose cultural and traditional beliefs drives the extinction of our wildlife resources.
A drive through our major highways ,inter City and village connectivity routes, reveals the massive growing markets and shoplets, where all manner of Bush meats, Antelopes, monkeys, snakes, crocodiles, gorillas, lions, leopards and even giant forest lizards are on display for sale.
My guy and name sake, the Antelope Meke 3 at Okomu National Park, which is Nigeria’s home to endangered white throated monkeys, lives on today, because government cares,through its conservation agency, National Park service.
I really do not wish to discuss our very dysfunctional national forests management architecture, with almost all the states and local governments green biosphere structures wiped out, leaving only federal government managed protected areas structures overburdened.
From kaduna to kebbi, sokoto to Enugu, all the forests and games reserves, are all yesterdays story lines, with heavy environmental conservation consequences Stirring us in the face.
Our knowledge of trees and the various medicinal values are gone, same for avian and fauna resources, vegetations critical to our future survival cruelly cut down, an unmitigated destruction and invasion of our natural resources ecosystem, which has defined our desertification and erosion challenges.
Certainly and significantly, the federal government deemed it wise to float ecological funds to help both the states and local governments recover lost vast areas from the impact of climate risk factors, but sadly, the funds ends up misappropriated and misapplied, and gave vent to all manner of unavoidable natural disasters. Does the recent massive flooding make meanings to us?
My friend, Antelope, Meke 3, reminds me and many other Nigerians that we owe it a duty to preserve and protect these forest beings, time audit our forests space.
To possibly test our knowledge and responsibility to protecting these beings from the poaching and burning pots of revellers of Bush meats. I recently posted the pictures of Antelope Meke 3, on my Facebook page and oh dear, my friends, and other respondents, bayed like hungry lions for the poor Antelope.
It was indeed missed feelings for me as a natural resources developmental writer and tourism journalism influencer. The fear for other Antelopes in our forests, unprotected, those found in abandoned states and local governments game reserves , left me worried.
I felt sad for many of our fauna resources that ends up in pots of soups at marriage ceremonies, ritual dedication and atonement engagements to malevolent spirits, family gods and palm wine drinking bars.
It does not matter to us that those cultural and traditional ceremonies leaves us behind in the quest to join the rest of the world to keep and preserve these beings for scientific, educational and recreation purposes, for our generation yet unborn.
Oh yes, Nigerians, may not be vegetarians but to eat up both our forests and marine resources, just to satisfy mere cultural cravings, leaves much to be desired.
A detailed check list of our indigenous fauna resources, tells of a people and nation, far from global reality to animals ( in the wild) protection and preservation.
Our conservation protection legislations are weak, and an open window to encouraging illegal smuggling and poaching our earth resources without let.
Over time, the leadership of National Park service, has put some of these legislations to test, taking hordes of fulani cattle grazers and herders, poachers and illegal loggers before the courts, and in seconds, many were left off the hook due to very timid legal entrapment.
Most natural resources protection and preservation law breakers, comes to court, fully aware that the courts will only give an option of fine, most of the process ,not punitive enough to serve as deterrent to the invasion of our forests and the cruel poaching of fauna resources.
The endangered Species , control of international trade and Traffic Act, Animal Diseases Control Act, to criminal code Act, may have drawn attention to the need to criminalise cruel attitudes to animals in captivity, they are however not enough deterrent.
Similarly sections 450, 456 and 495 of the criminal code Act, 1990, and few others related to protection and prohibition of keeping certain species of animals in captivity without licence, bears little or no relief to serious efforts to penalise cruelty against animals in the forest or even outside of secured enclosure.
To have Antelope Meke 3, living today, including few others in Nigeria’s protected areas, as strategically sustained by Nigeria Park service, brings some measures of hope and faith in our tomorrow’s conservation economy. What happens to those animals outside this conservation architecture , can best be imagined and we can, help, keep our animal kingdom safe, secured and reverse the risk pictures.
However a serious interrogation and review of the various Acts against cruelty of the silent forest beings must be addressed. It won’t be too much to ask that a certain percentage of ecological funds be allocated to national Park service to protect and preserve both marine and forests species.
The ongoing depletion of our forests covers through illegal logging and even senseless plundering of flora resources by some state forestry racketeering actors, trades goose pimples in the lives few people who frowns at what’s can be described as Nigeria’s aemagedon to nature resources conservation.
We’re Committed to Tackling Crime, Terrorism, Gaidam Assures INTERPOL
The Honourable Minister of Police Affairs, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, has conveyed Nigeria’s dedication to fostering effective partnerships with INTERPOL member countries to tackle crimes, combating terrorism and maintain global peace as well as commitment to ensuring public safety and upholding the principles of justice, according to a statement signed by the Ministry’s Deputy Director, Press, Bolaji Kazeem, and made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP).
The Minister who led the Nigerian delegation comprising Vice President Africa (INTERPOL), AIG Umar Garba (RTD); Director, Police Inspectorate Department (PID) Mrs. Bola Blessing Aderele; Head (INTERPOL, National Crime Bureau), AIG Lanre Bankole and others are attending 91st Interpol General Assembly in Vienna, Austria to commemorate the Centenary Celebrations.
The Minister expressed optimism about the future prospects of international cooperation in combating crime and reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to working closely with Interpol and its member countries to ensure a safer, more secure world Gaidam acknowledged the pivotal role played by Interpol in promoting global security through its extensive network, data-sharing mechanisms, and operational support as well as funding of infrastructure in Nigeria.
“The centenary celebrations of Interpol served as a moment of reflection and appreciation of a century of international collaboration in law enforcement among member countries. Our active participation in the event further solidified Nigeria’s role as a responsible and proactive member of the international law enforcement community,” the Minister said.
He added: “Our presence highlighted Nigeria’s commitment to international security and cooperation as well as a renewed commitment from all member countries to work collectively in addressing the evolving challenges of crime in the 21st century.”
The Interpol General Assembly is an important platform for global law enforcement agencies to engage in constructive dialogue, exchange best practices, and strengthen collaboration in combating transnational crime.
During the assembly, discussions encompassed various topics, including the latest advancements in policing techniques, emerging security challenges, and strategies to enhance cross-border intelligence sharing.
The delegates deliberated on initiatives aimed at countering terrorism, cybercrime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and other forms of transnational criminal activities. The momentous event witnessed the gathering of 196 member countries from Africa, Asia, and Europe.
United Nigeria Airline Suspends Flight Dispatcher over Code Error
The United Nigeria Airlines (UNA) has suspended the flight dispatcher who entered the wrong code to the dispatch document on Sunday, for a flight to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, which ended up at Asaba airport..
The flight dispatcher (names withheld), according to reports, was issued a suspension letter on Tuesday, by the management of the airline following an outcry from the public, which caused the carrier avoidable embarrassment.
Although the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is already investigating the incident, the suspension of the Dispatcher will remain in place until after the conclusion of the probe.
Head, Corporate Communications, United Nigeria Airlines, Mr. Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, confirmed the suspension.
Uchegbu clarified that the suspension is not a sack, “but an action to enable investigation.”
The flight Dispatcher, on Sunday, entered into the dispatch document ABB, which is the code for Asaba International Airport, Delta State, instead of ABV, the code for Abuja airport.
Commenting on the incident, President of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Comrade Galadima Abednego, described the situation as worrisome.
Speaking in Kano at the ongoing National Air Traffic Communicators’ Association of Nigeria (NACAN) 10th Annual General Meeting/Conference, Galadima said: “I would not like to call it a diversion. It is quite a worrisome situation, where an aircraft that is Abuja bound found itself in Asaba. It has serious safety and security breaches.”
Kano Residents Protest over Appeal Court Judgment
A wave of fresh protests have broken out in the Kano metropolis as thousands of residents on Wednesday trooped to the streets demonstrating their rejection of the Appeal Court judgment sacking of Governor Abba Yusuf.
The appellate court, on September 20, upheld the verdict of the State Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay, which sacked Yusuf and declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC),Nasir Ganuwa, the authentic winner of the March 18 governorship election in the State.
The tribunal had ruled that 165,663 votes garnered by Yusuf of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) were invalid on the grounds that they were not signed or stamped by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), thus reducing his votes to 853,939 while those of the APC rival remained at 890,705.
Yusuf, who was not satisfied with the tribunal judgment, took his case to the Appeal Court only for it to uphold the verdict.
With the outcome of the appeal court, there has been tension in the state as several groups who are in support of Yusuf have been holding sporadic protests against the ruling which they see as a travesty of justice.
Different groups had also reportedly fixed protests but were dispelled by security operatives who prevented them from going ahead with the demonstrations to prevent break down of law and order.
However, despite concerted efforts by the police and other security agencies, the protesters defied all warnings and took over the streets in the city to protest the ruling of the appeal court.
The protesters were seen carrying placards as chanting slogans like “We will not accept it”; “We will not allow it”; “Kano belongs to Abba”; “Our mandate must be restored”; “Injustice exposed in CTC”; among others.
It was gathered that efforts by security operatives to disperse the protesters were abortive as they stood their ground and refused to back off.