OWERRI – The Imo state police command on Wednesday arrested two men for allegedly hawking Elephant and Buffalo meat for the people as cow meat.

The President of the Nigerian Association of Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Parks (NAZAP), Mr. Francis Abioye disclosed this in a press statement the association’s Public Relations officer (PRO), Vitalise Ortese issued in Abeokuta on Friday.

Ortese stated that the two suspects were arrested following a tip-off by the residents.

He further disclosed that the suspects, Mr. Harisel Mohammed, 25, and Mr. Mahadi Yusuf, 18 years, both from Ningi LGA in Bauchi State, with preliminary investigations suggesting that they got the meat and parts from wildlife poachers and bandits from the Yankari Games Reserve in Bauchi State, Nigeria.

According to Ortese, “it is illegal, under the endangered species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act, an Act that provides for the conservation and management of Nigeria’s wildlife and the protection of some of her endangered species. These species are in danger of extinction as a result of over exploitation.

“The first part of the Act states“As from the commencement of this Act, the hunting or capture of or trade in, the animal species specified in the First Schedule to this Act (being animal species threatened with extinction) is absolutely prohibited.

“The second part of the Act further states, “As from the commencement of this Act, no person shall hunt, capture, trade in or otherwise deal with an animal species specified in the Second Schedule to this Act (being animals which, though not necessarily now threatened with extinction, may become so threatened unless trade in respect of such species is controlled) except where he is in possession of a licence issued under this Act.”

The NAZAP PRO hinted that the arrested meat hawkers “are making useful statements to the Police and NAZAP working with the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) and authorities of the Yankari Game Reserve will push for their prosecution in accordance with the law,” he stated.

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