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Revellers, Poachers Beware: There’s an Animal kingdom

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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.

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Death Toll in Lagos Cholera Outbreak Hits 24

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi said the cholera death toll has risen to 24.

Abayomi disclosed this in a post on his Instagram handle on Friday.

He also has confirmed 35 cases out of the 417 suspected cases across 20 Local Government Areas in the state.

The Commissioner said the situation report as of June 19, 2024, indicated, “417 suspected cases, 35 confirmed cases, and 24 recorded deaths.”

He advised residents to ensure personal and environmental hygiene.

He advised, “Let’s adhere strictly to personal and environmental hygiene. Let’s stay safe #ForAGreaterLagos”

The cases were reported from Agege, Badagry, Ikeja, Mushin, Ajeromi-Ifelofun, Epe, Ikorodu, Ojo, Alimosho, and Eti-Osa.

Others were Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Amuwo-Odofin, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos Island, Shomolu, Apapa, Ifako-Ijaiye, Lagos mainland, and Surulere.

Cholera is a food and water-borne disease caused by ingesting the bacteria— Vibrio cholerae — in contaminated water and food. Cholera can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea, and the severe forms of the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.

In Nigeria, cholera is an endemic and seasonal disease, occurring annually mostly during the rainy season and more frequently in areas with poor sanitation.

The World Health Organisation on Thursday announced a spike in cholera in several regions of the world, with almost 195,000 cases and over 1,900 deaths reported in 24 countries since the start of 2024.

WHO said the Eastern Mediterranean Region reported the highest number of cases, followed by the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the Southeast Asia Region, and the European Region.

The global health body, however, noted that there are no reported cases in the Western Region, according to its bulletin released on Wednesday.

It said it exhausted its global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines by March but was able to exceed “the emergency target of five million doses in early June for the first time in 2024.”

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Glo Hails Ojude Oba, Others As Promoters of Cultural Heritage, Unity

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Telecommunications company, Globacom, has said that Ojude Oba and similar festivals in the country have enormous potential to promote cultural diversification, national identity, harmony and unity.

In his goodwill message to this year’s Ojude Oba festival in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, on Tuesday, the Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr., also noted that these age-long festivals could foster cultural exchange and showcase Nigeria’s rich heritage to the world.

Dr Adenuga observed that the theme of this year’s celebration, UNITY AND HARMONY IN IJEBULAND: THE GIFT OF OJUDE OBA, emphasised the values that the festival had espoused for over a century that it has been in existence.

He added that the festivals also had potential to boost tourism and help in the diversification of the economy which was why the Federal Government and many governments across the globe have placed tourism on top of their development agenda. Dr. Adenuga pointed out that Globacom has kept its partnerships with the nation’s largest festivals to solidify and establish them as premier events that would draw even more visitors to Nigeria from around the globe.

He further stated that Globacom and the sons and daughters of Ijebuland, both at home and in the Diaspora, would greatly benefit from the partnership with the Ojude Oba Planning Committee.

One of the star activities of the Globacom-sponsored festival was the Regberegbe competition among the different age groups in Ijebuland. Egbe  Bobasete Okunrin Omooba came first; Egbe Bobagunte Okunrin Akile Ijebu second and Egbe Bobamayegun Okunrin Asiwaju came third.

In the female category, Egbe Bobagunwa Obinrin Omooba was adjudged the best dressed with Egbe Bobagunwa Obinrin Asiwaju and Egbe Arobayo Obinrin Akile Ijebu coming second and third respectively.

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FRSC Begins Mass Production of Drivers Licence, Churns Out 73, 740 Cards in 14 Days

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The Corps Marshal Shehu Mohammed-led Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), has began a mass production of National Drivers Licence as a strategic intervention mechanisms introduced towards clearing the backlogs of the National Drivers Licence.

Consequently, the Print Farm has produced 73,740 licenses in a space of two weeks according to a statement signed by the Public Education Officer, Corps Commander Olusegun Ogungbemide, and made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP).

Recall that on assumption of office, one of the most cardinal steps taken by the Corps Marshal towards revamping the entire processes of the Corps was a working visit to the FRSC Print Farm, as well as other critical infrastructures so as to have on the spot assessment of the facilities with a view of strengthening their production capacity.

This assessment was propelled by the alarming rate of public outcry about the unprecedented delay applicants faced regarding issuance of the National Drivers License.

At the end of the assessment, the Corps Marshal set up a task force to ensure that the backlog is cleared in soonest possible time. He further directed 24 hours production and immediate rectification of the identified technical glitches that affected the overall production capacity of the farm.

As at the moment, a total of 84, 500 NDLs are on queue for production and expected to be delivered to the respective State Licensing Authorities nationwide.

Corps Marshal Shehu Mohammed, while assuring the public of the Corps’ commitment to quality service, called on applicants, especially those who have experienced delay, to await notification or contact their state licensing offices for pick up of the already produced ones.

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