Wednesday, December 22, 2010




“The legislature may pass many laws the effect of which may be impaired or even destroy the right of property. Private interest must yield to the public advantage…The protection and preservation of game has been secured by law in all civilised societies and may be justified on many grounds, one of which is for purposes of food….”*

Before the opening of the African continent by the European, native hunting rights were sparingly granted by the tribal chief on formal application.  However, the chief had discretionary power to deny the exercise of such rights.  In order words, the permission to hunt could be refused.  Game was shared among the family members according to strict traditional rules.  The chief would sometimes put certain areas under reserve.

In Yorubaland many juristic thoughts, proverbs and wise sayings which serve as charters of social and ethical norms forbid misuse or mismanagement of game species.  However, these thoughts and sayings vary a great deal from one community to another.  Notwithstanding these variations, some proverbs and saying constitute a common ground among Yoruba.  There is an adage which says “Ko le ba de aja, ko le ba de eran ni ode ati agbe fi n de igbo gan leerun”- meaning for ease of both dog and game, the hunters and farmers hunt in the forest and open grassland during dry season.1

This translates into a situation where hunting expedition is not taken as an all year affair but limited to a particular period of time in a year.  Otherwise, the population of fauna would have been irreparably depleted. This system forms the foundation of the present day game laws defining open and close seasons, the latter being a period naturally meant for game breeding season and the former for period of hunting when the population of game would have swollen up.

There is also an adage in Yorubaland which says “Taa ba taa, tito laa to, ti a ko ba too yoo di eran idin” – meaning, “when an animal is shot and ran away, it must be traced, if not, it becomes maggots’ Meat”.  This means that a shot animal must not be left in suffering arising from gun shot, or abandoned, hence, they have the right to attention, care and protection of man and that dead animal must be treated with respect.  Yet, another Yoruba proverb says “Akii mo alaja, ki a na aja re” which means that “a dog whose owner is know is never beaten”. This indirectly protects the animals against ill-treatment or cruel acts.

The Yoruba would say “Akeyinje ko mo wipe idi nro adiye” meaning “an egg-eater does not know or feel for the hen’s anus pain”.  This saying demonstrates need to avoid the abuse of animal right especially their right to procreation. It is the common belief among Yoruba that destruction or felling of a tree that inhabits yellow palm bird (ega) predicts doom for society in which such act is committed.

Another instructive Yoruba saying lies in the statement that “Aki pa igun, a kii je igun, akii fi igun bori” – meaning “vultures can never be killed either for meat or to appease gods”. This saying takes vulture completely out of the use of human beings hence their prominence everywhere one goes, even in market places and this also reflects in their fearlessness even in the face of physical threat from human beings.

Furthermore, it was also a taboo to carry snakes’ eggs.  This includes all snakes except (Puff Adder) a species of viper, which is oviviparous.  It is the belief that when a snake’s eggs are taken away from the nest, and the eggs touch one another, the mother snake would be aware and trace the sound to the destination of its eggs. Having regard to the harmful nature of snakes, people desist from getting near snakes’ eggs.  This has immensely contributed to the steady population of snakes as some snakes like African Rock python or Royal python lay forty to hundred eggs and incubated by females2.

No matter the degree of danger inherent in the snakes’ population, they have something to contribute to humanity but their usefulness may not, at present, be appreciated.  However, by the spate of scientific research and technological development, they may turn out to be priceless.

Moreover, in terms of danger, many higher animals like elephant pose more danger to man than snakes, for example, elephants in Bangladesh are known to be more in the news for natural disaster.  In September 1997, as many as seven people were reportedly killed in the south eastern part of the country while several reports from Dhaka the state capital said the animals protected under the country’s Wildlife Preservation Act, thundered through villages trampling people and trees.  But some of the villagers summoned courage to fire guns into the air, blow trumpets and light bonfires in an attempt to scare away the destructive beast rather than their indiscriminate killing, notwithstanding the fact that, that was not the first time the country would experience attacks from herds of elephants and according to the report, not less than fifteen people have been dispatched to the great beyond and twenty others injured since the rampaging elephants began troubling the region3.

There is also a Yoruba saying that “Agbon mi ni wo ile eja, a pajuba niba ile aparo je”- meaning “the water drainer destroys the home of fish and land cultivator wreaks havoc on the wild fowl’s abode”.4

This saying is employed in Yorubaland to discourage perpetration of an act antithetic to conservation.  In other words, the two acts of both water drainer and land cultivator constitute a destruction of the habitats of animals. The word “Ajuba” in Yoruba parlance means “a cleared land for cultivation”.

The Yoruba would say that “Agbalagba ti n ta roba mo eye, ti ko ba fi sile yoo wo ina meaning- an elderly person catapulting a bird relentlessly shall be rewarded with hell fire”.  This tends to forbid cruelty to animals.

In some Yoruba family, game management in terms of conservation and preservation is reflective of the dictates of their cognomens.  For example, in the Onikoyi Family in Yorubaland, it is a taboo to eat giant rat and yellow palm bird known and called “Okete” and “Eye Ega” respectively.  It is also taboo to the Ondo town indigene to eat ‘Okete’. In the Alapa family it is forbidden to eat any kind of snake. 
Another instructive saying of Yoruba goes thus: “Akii pa oya se ola”-meaning- cane-rats (grass-cutters) are not killed for riches. It is the belief in Yoruba land that game generally is not killed for sale. The idea of hunting among Yoruba is that a game killed by hunters is for personal consumption or to be shared among his people. It does not entail a large scale killing for commercial purpose as poachers do. 


In Hausaland, it is the saying that “Rashin kira karan bebe Yabata” – meaning that a lost dog did not listen to its owner.  This saying is rooted in the rationale behind the right of animal to care and attention of human beings as its custodian.

The Hausa people would say “Kada Ka Mai Dani Karan Farauta- meaning that a game hunted by dog is always taken away from it.  This expression also finds support in the right of animal that a hunting dog should be allowed a fair share of what it laboured for.

On the essence and significance of game to humanity.  Hausa people would say “Kukan Kurciya Jawabine, Maihankali Yake Ganewa” – meaning only the wise can understand the meaning of the bird’s song.  In the same vein, they also say that “Dilla Sarkin Wayo” – meaning that civet cat’s intelligence is the best among animals. The above sayings are reflective of the behaviour of animal and from which human beings can learn one or two things about life.  For example, the civet-cat, from the observation of Hausa- people, would come down from a tree to a river where it would soak its tail in water after which it climbs the tree or go into privacy to satisfy its thirst by drinking from its soaked tail.

It is also the saying in Hausaland that “Kawada Kiwon Da ya karbeshi! Makocin Mai Akuya, Yasayi Kura” – meaning that although each person has a preference for domestic animal which he keeps yet, a neighbor to a goat rearer does not rear wolf due to the danger inherent in the proximity of the two animals.  This gives a vivid example of corresponding responsibilities of the owner of domesticated or tamed animal vis-à-vis the right of his neighbour.

On the act of cruelty to animal, it is the saying in Hausaland that “Hutun Jaki Dakaya Aka” – meaning that a donkey cannot rest with a heavy load on it.  This saying preaches humane treatment of animals particularly domestic animals used for transportation and carriage so that they are afforded the time to rest, which should be devoid of any stress or pain.

Finally, Hausaland is not an exception to the saying applicable to all ethnic groups with varying cultures in Nigeria that the love for hen does not foreclose its use for food which is usually expressed as “Sabo Dakaza Bayahana Yankata”.  This conception suggests the need to respect their right up to the time of killing them.


The Igbos would say “Ozu Ehi Akariala Ihe Ana Aru Noku”-  meaning that a cow is too big for causal roasting. The reasoning behind this is that the killing of big animals for frivolities or minor festivities should be discouraged. Rather, attention should be shifted to smaller animals.  The advantage of this lies in the conservative measures as the big sized animals take longer period of time to attain maturity as well as the rate of reproduction for which the gestation period of bigger animals remains the underlying factor. In other words, the gestation period of bigger animals is longer than that of smaller animals.

It is also the saying in Igboland that “Ihe Gburu Nne Okuko Bukwa Ihe Chiri Akwa Ya” – meaning that whatever has killed the hen has also taken the eggs. This expression finds support in the right of animals to procreation and completion of their life span.

In conclusion, the Igbos would say that “Oku akporakpo zogbue nwa Okuko Ugwo Adigiya”- meaning that if an invited guest tramples on a chicken of the host it will not attract payment.  The reason behind this saying is that people are easily disposed to trampling on chicken.  This underlines the general attitude of people on insensitivity to the plight of animals.

*      *      *     

All the above reflect the customs and traditions which in the ancient time took the position of the modern-day legislation. And even where social organisation has made some progress, they can still remain the sole rule of conduct. In the Justinian’s Institutes, it is the contention that “long prevailing customs being sanctioned by the consent of those who use them, assume the nature of law” – just like the Nigerian customary law.

Summarily, the pre-colonial Nigeria witnessed and recognised considerable customs that have direct bearing on game management.  Customs, like law, only deals with objectionable acts or omissions with respect to misuse of game as community’s natural resources hence assume the status of legislation.


Notably, legislation on Animal Rights in England was also applied in Nigeria through the Statute of General Application.  Most of these legislations will be examined in the next chapter.  It suffices to state here that those laws were applicable here in Nigeria because they satisfied the two criteria laid down for the applicability of the Statute of General Application in Nigeria.  These criteria were laid down by Osborne C.J. in the case of Attorney General v. John Holt5 according to the learned judge, he said whether as statute of England would be regarded and applied in Nigeria would depend on the answer to two questions:
(i)   By what court is the statute applied in England and;
(ii) To what classes of community in England does it apply?

To the learned judge, such statue must be applied by courts of record and must apply generally to the public in England. Supreme Court approved Osborne’s test in the case of Lawal v Jilana6. The statutes on Animal rights in England satisfy the two criteria and were applicable in Nigeria during colonial era.

Aside from the above and in compliance with the recommendations of the 1st International Convention for the protection of the Fauna and Flora of Africa held in London in 1933, Nigeria complied with the recommendations to the effect that there must be an establishment of Nature Reserves and National Parks in the territories of Africa to be administered by the contracting Government.  The Convention laid down certain principles concerning the traffic in Skins of wild animals and prohibited certain hunting methods. It also defined the protection to be granted to some threatened species which were listed under class A and class B. on management in Nigeria was promulgated in 1958 i.e. Wild Animals Preservation Ordinance.



The Ordinance was designed to protect the rare and more valuable kinds of game by giving complete protection to certain species. The use of traps and weapons was limited and the slaughter of female game prohibited.  The Ordinance sets out in the attached schedule those animals, which are protected, the hunting, killing or capturing of which require special permission from the Administrative Officer or magistrate.  This Ordinance consummated the previous 13 Ordinances from 1916-1958 and became operational on the 1st day of June, 19587.

Section 3 of the Ordinance defines “animal” to mean all vertebrates and invertebrates (including non-edible fish), their nests, eggs, egg-shells, skin and plumage.  “Hunt” includes an attempt to kill or capture, and intentional causing of injury, or an attempt to cause injury to an animal or bird.  This means that the protection did not only relate to any game species of wildlife, but also to its habitat.  As nest is part of the paraphernalia of their breeding process which, of necessity, takes place in the forest, the abode of animal.

The prohibition of infliction of injury did not only conserve their population but also their welfare and it was an attempt to discourage poaching, a wasteful and cruel method, by the use of muzzle-loader, an inefficient weapon which wound far more animals than it kills.

Sections 4 and 5 prohibit the hunting, killing or capturing of

a.    any of the animals or birds mentioned in the 1st schedule;
b.    any of the animals mentioned in the 1st or 2nd schedule if the animal be (i) immature or (ii) a female accompanied by her young; or
c.     any female antelope;
unless the person is authorised by a special licence or other authority under this Ordinance.

There is also penalty of fifty pounds for breach of these provisions.

The reasoning behind the provisions of section 4 is to guarantee steady growth in the population of wildlife through preservation of the stock of the species and the continuity of existence as decreed by God in Deuteronomy: chapter 22 verses 6-7 “that mother birds should not be killed but left to continue the species”.

Section 6 provides that no person unless he is authorised under this Ordinance shall hunt, kill or capture any of the birds mentioned in the 3rd schedule with a proviso that any person who is granted a licence to possess a short gun under the provisions of the Firearms Ordinance may hunt and kill such birds with such short gun without further authorisation under the provisions of this Ordinance and provides a fine of five pounds for any breach of this provision.

The combined effect of the provisions of section 7-13 and 15 of the Ordinance was meant to discourage the killing or hunting of big mammals and other valuable game species and their materials for sale. These provisions now form the basis of the present day Endangered Species (control of International Trade and Traffic) Act Cap 108 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990.

Section 14 of the Ordinance made it an offence to kill any animal or bird in self-defence without prompt report to an Administrative Officer and if the animal killed is an elephant or rhinoceros, the tusks or horns must be handed over to an Administrative Officer.

Both sections 19 and 20 of the Ordinance enjoin the Governor-in-Council to declare any area to be a game reserve, that is, an area closed to prevent the killing or capturing of all or any species of protected animals or protected birds or game birds.

Owing to the above, many forest and game reserve were declared among of which were Bornu Province- 874-33 Square miles, Bauchi Province- (a) Buachi Game Reserve -230.00 hectares (829.5 Square Miles) and (b) Runa Game Reserve- 70.00 (273 Square Miles), Sokoto Province – Zamfara Game Reserve- 240,00 hectares (925 Square Miles), Plateau Province – Kogin Giri Game Reserve- 250.00 (1278 Square Miles), Benin Province- (a) Orle River Game Reserve – 130.00 hectares (580 Square Miles) and (b) Gilli Gilli- Kolo-Kolo Creek 52.00 hectares (200 Square Miles) and Oyo Province-Ogun Ile (Old-Oyo Game Reserve 70.00 hectares) (270 Square Miles)8.

It cannot be claimed that hunting regulations were strictly applied as desired, simply because it is one thing to make regulations, which in fact do exist, but quite another to enforce them.  Generally speaking, if it was possible to enforce the law more strictly, there would have been an assurance of survival of the fauna.

Certain regulations governing the hunting of wild animals had to be observed by the indigenous and expatriate population alike.  Native Authorities may pass subsidiary legislation applicable to their own area.

The Ordinance was based on the principle that African natives have inherent hunting rights.  In the Yoruba area of the South West Region, very highly developed hunting guilds have been operating for a considerable period of time.

Generally, native hunting was not subject to limitations as to places where they can hunt.  The Ordinance already mentioned sets out those animals, which were protected, the hunting, killing or capturing of which requires special permission.  Notwithstanding the provisions of the law, certain protected animals continued to be illegally hunted. 

Sections 17 and 18 of the Ordinance prohibit the use of motor vehicles or aircraft for hunting and other unduly destructive method.  Regulations have previously been made (Regulation 6 of 1934, Regulation 78 of 1994) prohibiting the use of lights and large-jawed traps.

There was difficulty in the supply of figures, giving the number or type of firearms in the hands of native hunters.  Local guns (Dane guns) and ammunition were undoubtedly bought and sold freely, but the buying and selling of locally made and imported guns; cap guns; rifles and ammunition are governed by the Arms Ordinance (chapter 14 of the Laws of Nigeria 1958).

There was no trade in skins, meats and other parts of animals and there was no transportation of skins, so, no penalty could have been provided.  It could not be determined how and whether the laws were regularly enforced.  What became of the confiscated weapons and traps was not known as the case in Kenya where a fine of $500 and/or 6 months imprisonment and the confiscated weapons were sold by auction by the police*.

There was no colour or racial discrimination in the hunting regulations for non-Africans under section 21 of the said Ordinance, the following licences to hunt, kill or capture certain animals may be granted by the Governor as follows:

Particulars                               Cost Duration
a.    A resident non-native’s licence      $2     One year
b.    A visitor’s licence                         $10   One year
c.     A fortnightly licence                     10-    One licence in twelve months
d.    A bird licence                             5/-    One year

By virtue of section 39 of the Ordinance, any person who commits any breach of the provisions of the Ordinance or of the conditions of his licence or permit for which breach no special penalty is prescribed shall no conviction be liable to a fine of $50.  In all cases of conviction for an offence under this Ordinance the heads, horns, tusks, skins, or other remains of animals or birds found in the possession of the offender or his agent shall be liable to forfeiture.  If the person convicted was the holder of a licence, his licence may be revoked by the court.  Confiscated goods including firearms and ammunition become the property of court.

The ordinance did not expressly forbid hunting for profit either by natives or non-natives.  Although, the Ordinance for the protection of wild life had been desgined to give complete protection to animals in schedules A and B yet in practice, it was observed that the public generally has not given as much voluntary co-operation and support as desirable.

There were no special organisations or bodies or individuals for the protection of fauna.  The granting of permit to capture an animal was decided by the Governor.  There were no regulation controlling the temporary quartering of wild animals, especially protected animals, and for the opening and maintenance of zoological gardens or parks.

Furthermore, no game management service organization existed in Nigeria.  Members of such an organization would have been responsible for the discharge of duties ranging from prerogative police powers to exercise of rights to proceed to search, inquiries, confiscations and possibly collaborate with other governmental departments with the help of game wardens, game rangers, game scouts, keepers, administrative staffers, park and reserve guards and biologists for the application of hunting of fauna, supervision of reserves, game control and management.

Hunting tours were neither encouraged nor organized.  The law applied everywhere and in all circumstances without exceptions.  The authorities did not recognise the campaign of containment or extermination. No list of animals regarded as vermin (harmful) and from time to time, reports were made of hippopotami and elephants destroying village food supplies like yam mounds and even endangering life.  Under these circumstances, an Administrative Officer, may at his discretion, give permission to destroy the intruding animals.


In general, there were no fishing rights, but migrant fishermen were paying fees.  There were no controls in the real sense and except for manatee.  The expatriate population was relatively small and fishing for sport was not extensive as the case of wildlife.  There were no fishing reserves.  However, the powers not generally used under section 42 of the Ordinance to make close seasons, limit devices, fix meshes and so on, came into force under the fishing organisation.

Various native authorities have made local fishing rules under their general powers.  The use of poisons and explosives was prohibited under the Ordinance9 but for geographical factors, enforcement was very difficult and prosecution very rare.

Pursuant to the Ordinance, the Fisheries Service consisting of the following was established:
A central section concerned with matters of overall Nigerian interest (including the management of the inter-territorial West African Fisheries Research Institute) and with the investigation of new methods of catching, growing and preserving fish and with the general co-ordination of fisheries development.

Fisheries section of the Northern, Western and Eastern Regions of Nigeria carried out the work of fisheries development in the form of demonstration and development of proved techniques.

The central section had a staff of principal fisheries officer and master fishermen.  There were expatriate officers and with them were appropriate Nigerian assistants. In the Northern Regions, there was an establishment of four fisheries officers and appropriate Nigerian Assistants of Commerce and Industries. In each of the Eastern and Western Regions, there was an establishment of one Fisheries Officer and Nigerian Assistant.


Prior to Nigeria independence, there were 459 forest reserves with a total area of 28,907 square miles.  The Reserves were constituted under the Forestry Ordinance10 which was an Ordinance designed for the preservation and control of forest.  Supervision varied from simple patrolling to planned management. The main objective of the forest policy was the production of the maximum of forest, which was essential for the general well- being of the country.

The effective achievement had been the conservation of forest estate of 28,907 square miles of natural forest, which was 7.7% of the total area of Nigeria.  Reforestation and afforestation had only been undertaken to a very small extent.

There was no general regulation in force for the control of bush burning.


The Diseases of Animals Ordinance and Regulations made there under are worthy of note.  Interestingly, this Ordinance is the forerunner of the Animal Disease (Control) Act11.  The Ordinance12 provides for the prevention of the introduction and spread of infectious or contagious diseases among animals.

Section 3 and 4 give both Governor-general-in-council and Governor-in-Council powers to make regulations concerning the object of the Ordinance.

Unfortunately, the Ordinance did not make any provision for the punishment of the offender as it was under the 1948 Ordinance (cap 55)13 as Section 7 merely makes provisions that “proceedings in respect of an offence against any regulations under this Ordinance alleged to have been committed by any person may be taken before the appropriate court having jurisdiction in the place where that person is for the time being”.

This Ordinance is shrouded in ambiguities in the following respect.

a.    The appropriate court was neither mentioned nor defined under Section 2, that is, Definitions’ section.

b.    The nature of punishment to be meted out to the offender was not stated.  However, by virtue of Section 21 of the Diseases of Animal Ordinance and Regulation made under Section 4 of the Ordinance, contravention of the provisions of the law attract a punishment of fifty pounds or to imprisonment for six months whilst the appropriate court was named as magistrate.  

Finally, several other regulations were made pursuant to Wild Animals Preservation Ordinance and they included, game reserves declared by regulations made.

Pursuant to Section 20(1) of the Ordinance the regulations declared twenty eight Game Reserves with the then Federal territory of Lagos having one (Ikoyi Game Reserve), eighteen in the Northern Region and eight in both Western and Eastern Regions.

The Wild Animals Preservation Regulations made pursuant to Section 42 of the Ordinance dealt with the grant and renewal of licence for both resident and non-native’s licence and visitor’s licence.

The prohibition of hunting with lamps Regulations was made pursuant to Section 18 of the Ordinance and a penalty of fifty pounds fine was imposed for the killing or capturing of animals or birds by using a bright lamp or other portable light for the purpose of dazzling them or otherwise rendering them more easy prey.

The fishing in Kaduna River Regulation made pursuant to Section 42 of the Ordinance provided for a fine of five pounds and forfeiture of fish at the discretion of the court for persons fishing without rod and line only.  However, the only condition for which fishnet would be permitted by the Governor of the Northern Region was if the fishes caught were meant for scientific purposes though such permission may be revoked at any time.

The Wild Animals Preservation (Traps) Regulations made pursuant to Section 42 of the Ordinance defined trap to mean any mechanized contrivance having jaws, such jaws having a space between them of more than four inches intended to be used or capable of being used to capture, injure or destroy any animal or bird.

These regulations also provided for a fine not exceeding twenty-five pounds or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two months or both for any person guilty of an offence against the regulations14.

It suffices to state at this juncture that the Regional Laws were the same as that of the Federation and Lagos, for example, Wild Animals Preservation Laws of the Western Region of Nigeria 1959 (cap 132) was a replica of chapter 221 of the Ordinance considered under this head.


Here, the legislative status quo on game management in Nigeria would be succinctly examined whilst greater emphasis would be laid on policies and legislation from 1985 to date, the period being one that witnessed a radical departure from the laws that are still tied to the apron string of the colonial legal order.

Undoubtedly, protection of the nation’s wildlife was severally provided for in the Wild Animals Preservation Laws of the former Northern, Eastern and Western Regions with Lagos inclusive notwithstanding the fact that the laws relating to game management had been in force in some parts of the country as late as 1916.  However, the reasoning and philosophy behind these colonial relics remained unaltered.

The word preservation” well describes this philosophy and reasoning which was mainly directed at the preservation of the animals primarily for sporting purposes as against our new orientation and modern philosophy of wildlife management for (1) controlled harvesting of the wildlife crop, (2) a realistic method which allows the off-take of the animals surplus, but regards the basic stocks as sacrosanct, (3) perpetuation of all the major species and their different habitats in the face of intensive land use, and (4) source of food, income, and foreign exchange for the nation.  In other words, game is a crop that must be harvested thereby making indiscriminate hunting no longer a necessity to put food on the table.

The concept of conservation or preservation has changed in recent years as same is described in its modern conception with its close concern with human ecology.  The thesis is set forth that conservation of stocks of the larger wild animals, as natural resources of primary importance, must form an essential part of governmental policy in maintaining the territory as a possible and desirable human habitat for posterity.

The first indigenous legislation on wildlife is the Wild Animals Law of the region of former North East and Western Region 1963 which were retained by the new states created.  Despite the nativity of the laws, certain shortcomings were noticed and the National Wildlife Conservation Committee established in the 1970s made a radical revision of the law with a view to bringing it in line with modern wildlife conservation requirements.15

The Law provides for adjustment as to the details regarding reserves, close seasons, schedules and local endorsement licences, fees and the keeping, possessing and sale of wild animals.  Powers to enact these changes are vested in the Minister, Commissioner for Natural Resources and the Governor.  It is thus possible under the existing law, to make all essential adjustments to current practice necessary to safeguard the interest of the state investment in the State Wildlife Conservation Programme (SWCP).  The relevant paragraphs are: paragraph 31 states that- the minister may from time to time by order declare any period of time to be a close season for any wild animal whether a prohibited animal, especially a protected animals16 or any other wild animal and such declaration may be general or may be restricted to the limits of any area defined in the order.

Paragraph 32- provides that during the close season for any animal, no person shall hunt such animal within the area in respect of which the close season applies.  Paragraph 52 provides that Governor may make regulations in accordance with the provision on this law.

In the Wild Animals Law 1963, there was a provision for the establishment of game reserves for the conservation of Nature and Natural resources and also for the provision of “game sanctuaries”.

A sanctuary is an area(1) set aside to protect characteristic wildlife and especially bind communities to protect particularly threatened animal or plant species and specially those listed in the Annexure to the African Conservation of Nature together with the biotopes essential for their survival (2) in which all other interests and activities shall be subordinated to this end”.  “Game reserves” is defined as an area” (1) set aside for the conservation, management and propagation of wild animal life and the protection and management of its habitat, (2) within which the hunting, killing, capture of fauna shall be prohibited except under the direction or control of the reserve authorities and (3) where settlement and other human activities shall be controlled or prohibited17.

As of 1974, there were twelve game reserves covering an area of about 10,803 square miles.  Three game reserves Yankari, Borgu and Upper Ogun have received protection from hunting for about eight to ten years such that duiker, water bucks, bush buck, buffalo have increased rapidly with management, enforcement of game laws and good cropping scheme.


Livestock and Domesticated Animal Rights are protected and guided by the veterinary profession and ethics in Nigeria.  The Veterinary Surgeon Act specifies the functions of the veterinary council, the statutory obligation imposed upon it and the structure of the body.

Section 20 of the law defines “veterinary surgery” to include diagnosis and treatment of diseases of animals and the performing on them of surgical operations.  Veterinarians may obtain and prescribe drugs and other agents specified in the Pharmacy Act19 and only they may function in veterinary capacity in the enforcement of the provision of diseases of animal laws.  The defined functions of the Council are regulatory.  It is evident that it should be consulted over questions relating to veterinary education and all legislation affecting veterinary ethical questions and professional involvement in matters affecting livestock productions; the use of drugs, medications and other toxic agents, the control of notifiable diseases and the general welfare of animals.

There is also veterinary code of ethics that is concerned with the professional’s relationship with his colleagues, his patients, his client, the legal authorities of this country and the public at large and this was guided by the Veterinary Council of Nigeria.

The code of ethics provides for the following:
 Professional premises: It provides that staffing, facilities and equipment, should be maintained to an appropriate standard bearing in mind, amongst others, adequate provision for receiving clients and patients and legal requirements in relation to safe-keeping of poisons and controlled drugs.

Calls or visits: when a veterinarian makes calls or visits, he should ensure that enough calls are made to give proper care of the animals.  The calls must continue until the animal is well and the client is satisfied.

General consideration: Ethically, it should be noted that the Council allows the veterinary profession to have virtual monopoly of the care and treatment of animals in order to protect the animals against incompetent and unqualified person.

Responsibility to patient: Every veterinarian, whether in a private or public capacity engaged in providing a direct service in relation to the treatment of animals must make proper provision at all times for the relief of the pain, or suffering of animals and for their further treatment when necessary, either by himself or through profession colleagues.  Once a veterinarian has undertaken a case, he should not abandon it without safeguarding the welfare of the patient- The veterinarian must remember always his veterinary oath.

One – man practice: In a one man practice, it is the duty of the practitioner to ensure that professional services are available even during off-duty periods, holidays and in other circumstances of his unavoidable absence.  He must make arrangements with a colleague for cover to be provided, if he is going to be absent.

Handing of unusual species: A veterinarian may be presented for treatment,  animal species which he does not normally deal with.  In accepting that, it is unwise for such a veterinarian to administer any treatment or give any advice which he does not feel professionally competent to offer, council sees it obligatory that the veterinarian concerned provides at least first aid if necessary and then ensures that the animal is able to receive proper veterinary attention elsewhere.

Home calls: Whenever a veterinarian makes home calls, enough visits should be made so as to provide adequate care for the animals.  The visits must continue until the case is terminated.

Responsibility for Animal Welfare and Humane Practices    

In addition to the direct relationship between veterinarians and their patients, the professional is in the best position to ensure the general well being and the execution of humane practices on animals. In so doing, veterinarians should use their knowledge and skills to promote, amongst others, the following: humane handling, appropriate treatment, prevention of cruelty, assurance of well-being in husbandry practices, in the use of beast of beast of burden, in the herding and transportation from place to place, herd to herd, herd to market and to slaughter.

It is illegal and unethical for any veterinarian to be involved directly or indirectly in subjecting animals to kicks, over-riding, over driving, over-loading, torture, infuriating, terrifying, frustrating harassing, beating, and distraction with drugs or methods associated with unnecessary suffering.  It is unethical to turn a blind-eye and deaf ear to such ill treatment of animals.

Sometimes, a veterinarian will be expected in the court of law to be a witness under two different and unrelated circumstances.  In one instance he may be called upon in his capacity as a citizen to give evidence relating to his personal knowledge or as an eye witness of the facts of a case.  In the other instance, he may be invited to act as an expert witness because of his profession statue.


S. 394 of the Criminal Code is designed to ensure continued existence of endangered animal species and makes it an offence to kill any animal for the purpose of its trophy or skin or any of its valuable part.  The section provides thus “Any person who kills any animal capable of being stolen with intent to steal the skin or carcass or any part of the skin or carcass is guilty of any offence and is liable to the same punishment as if he had stolen the animal.
Under the Nigerian Criminal Code, section 495 provides for the offences of cruelty to animals in subsection 1(a) – (f) and that any person who commits any of the offences in the subsection will be guilty of an offence and on conviction, such a person is liable to imprisonment for six months or to a fine of £25 or to both imprisonment and fine.

Subsection 2 of the above section provides for some exceptions where the owner will be deemed to have committed cruelty for failure to exercise reasonable care and supervision in respect of the protection of the animal. (a) where the attempted destruction or destruction of any animal is for food for mankind are without infliction of unnecessary suffering; or (b) to the killing or hunting of any captive animal.

Section 496 provides for the order of destruction of animal by the court, it the court is satisfied that it would be cruel to keep the animal alive when the owner of such animal is convicted of an offence of cruelty.  Any reasonable expenses incurred in destroying the animal may be ordered by the court to be paid by the owner, and thereupon shall be recoverable in like manner as a fine.

Section 497 provides for the deprivation of ownership from the person by the court upon the conviction of the owner in addition to other punishment as the court thinks fit.  This is also the case where the court thinks fit or it is shown by evidence that if the animal is left with the owner it is likely to be exposed to further cruelty.

Section 498 provides for the power of police to take charge of animal where the person in charge is arrested until the termination of the proceedings. The reasonable costs of such detention, including the reasonable costs of any veterinary treatment, shall, in the event of conviction in respect of the animal, be paid by the owner, and such costs may be recovered in like manner as fine.

Section 499 provides for the definitions of animal, captive and domestic animals as contemplated by the chapter.  On the criminal offence of bestiality, by reason of inference, some protective rights are also discernable. This offence is provided for under Section 214 (2) of the Criminal Code.  The subsection provides that “any person who has canal knowledge of an animal is guilty of a felony and s liable to imprisonment for fourteen years”.

Still on cruelty to animals, our criminal law frowns at inflicting injuries on animals or their young. Section 450 of the criminal code provides thus “Any person who willfully and unlawfully kills, maims or wounds any animal capable of being stolen is guilty of an offence. If the animal in question is a horse, mare, gelding, ass, mule, camel, bull, cow, ox, goat, pig, ram, whether or ostrich or the young of any such animal, the offender is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years”.

Nowadays, it is sad that the police now secure ram fight venues where rams are pitted against one another and sustain heard injuries in the process; some may die of injuries to their heads and noses as a result of loss of blood what could be more criminal than this dastardly act of ram fight.   

Section 245 of the criminal code seeks to protect marine environment. It provides thus “Any person who corrupts of fouls the water of any spring, stream, well, tank, reservoir or place so as to render it less fit for the purpose for which it is ordinarily used is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for two years”.

Section 456 of the criminal code makes it an offence for any person to willfully and unlawfully cause or is concerned in causing or attempts to cause any infectious disease to be communicated to or among any animal or animals capable of being stolen is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

It is beyond doubt that this law indirectly protects the rights of animal against human cruelty and brutality.  This position has been upheld in some foreign cases.  Two cases are instructive on this position. In the case of R v Brown20 the accused was convicted for having canal relation with his domestic fowls some of which bled to death as a result of the injury they sustained. Similarly, in R. v Reynolds21 A man was convicted for having sexual intercourse with a turkey.

In 2011, it was reported that grandma Paula Mangan 42 who was photographed and admitted having sex with a “rottweiler-chow cross” a family dog was convicted of bestiality by Liverpool Crown Court. The judge Robert Warnock called her a “troubled and damaged individual” and imposed a two year community order with supervision.21a
In the studies of Professor Alfred C Kinsey of the University of Indiana, it is indicated that the contact of females with animals was the least frequent type of sexuality although for some it could be surprising that one of every eight women in the sample had specific sexual contact with animals after puberty and that 1.2% of the total sample had repeated genital contact which had sexually aroused the female.
For men, Kinsey offers the summary that out of the total sample only one out of 12 of 14 men had some contact with animals. In some rural areas of the United States up to 65% of men have had some sexual contact with animal with an average of 40% to 50% for all the rural areas.21b.


Penal code has similar provisions as in Criminal Code when section 207 of the Code provides thus “whoever cruelly beasts, tortures or otherwise willfully ill-treats any tame or domestic animal or wild animal which has previously been deprived of its liberty or arranges, promotes or orgainses fights between cocks, rams or other domestic animals shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to fifty pounds or with both”.

Section 208 provides that whoever wantonly over-rides, over drives or over-loads any animal or wantonly employs any animals, which by reason of age, sickness, wounds or infirmity is not in condition to work or neglects any animal in such a manner as to cause it unnecessary suffering shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to fifty pounds or with both.

Under this law, police may arrest without warrant and the offence is triable by a magistrate court of the Third Grade or Area Court Grade D.

The provisions of sections 495 and 499 of the Criminal Code and section 207 and 208 of the Penal Code are only different in contents but not materially different in term of purpose they are meant to serve, that is, prohibition of cruelty to animals.

The Penal Code also does not have provision for the offence of bestiality that attracts greater punishment of 14 years under the Criminal Code.  However, punishment for cruelty to animal under the Penal Code is higher than what the Criminal Code prescribes for the offender.

The corresponding provision is the unnatural offences section 284 provides thus “whoever has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years and to fine”


Under Trust law generally, imperfect obligation trust is not enforceable due to its lack of human beneficiary but where there is imperfect trust for charitable purposes beneficial to the community, the Court may enforce such trust despite its lack of human beneficiary and this is an exception to the general rule.  This law protects animal rights to attention, care and good treatment, thus a gift “for the welfare of cats and kittens has been held to be charitable in the case of Re Moss’s Estate” 22. The testatrix19 made gifts to a friend Miss Harvey “for her to use at her discretion for her work and for the welfare of cats and kittens needing care and attention – Romer J. held this to be a valid charitable trust.

Although, this position was upheld because the animal produce benefit to mankind, at the same time, it provides benefit to the animals.  Another case is the of Re Wedgwood 24 where a testatrix by her will gave residue upon trust to apply the same for the protection and benefit of animals.  The court held that this constitutes a good and valid charitable trust on the ground that it was calculated to promote public morality by checking the innate tendency to cruelty.

In the case of University of London v Yarrow 24 a trust for the establishment of a hospital in which animals which is useful to mankind should be properly treated and cured and the nature of their diseases investigated.

In Nigeria, the trust law is not different from what operates in other jurisdictions. For example, Section 2 of part one of Old Western Region Law22 defines “trust” to extend to implied and constructive trusts and to cases where the trustee has a beneficial interest in the trust property, and to the duties incident to the office of a personal representative”. The only exception is that it does not include the duties incident to an estate conveyed by way of mortgage.


It is also pertinent to note that Common laws of England are still applicable in Nigeria.  In the states of the old Western Region, for example, Section 3 Laws of England Application law Cap 60 Laws of Oyo State 1978 provides “from and after the commencement of this law and subject to the provisions of any written law, the common law of England and the doctrine of equity observed by her majesty’s High Court shall be in force throughout the region”.

Judging from the above, law of tort is still applicable in Oyo and other states of the Old Western Region because the status of the law is the same in those states.  Furthermore, all legislation on animal rights applicable during the colonial administration through Statutes of General Application have been abolished, thus Section 3 of the same law provides “subject to the provisions of this law, no Imperial Act in force within the state shall have any force or effect therein.

The relevant principles of the common law are the law of trespass, strict liability offences, as expounded in Ryland v Fletcher,25 cattle trespass and scanter action.

The rule in Ryland v Fletcher states that “The person who, for his own purpose (and in the course of a non-natural use of his land) brings on his land and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief, if it escapes, must keep it at his peril, and if he does not do so, it “prima facie” answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape.

This rule is applied in Nigeria based on the hazards of pollution associated with oil industry and the rapid growth of manufacturing activity in Nigeria since late 1960s.  An instructive case on this rule is the case of Umudje v Shell B.P Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited26. This action arose out of certain activities of the defendants carried out in the course of oil exploration in the Mid-Western (now Edo and Delta) State.  The Plaintiff who owned land adjacent to the area of exploration made two complaints, one of which is necessary for this work, which is, the second complaint that the defendants had accumulated oil waste on land under their control and that this oil had escaped on to the Plaintiff’s land and caused damage there.  Supreme court held that the defendants were liable under the rule since there was clear proof that crude-oil waste, which they had accumulated in a put on land under their control had escaped on to the plaintiffs land where it has polluted certain ponds and killed the fish therein.

On cattle trespass, cause of action lies where cattle in the possession or control of the defendant are either intentionally driven on to the plaintiff’s land, or stay on to such land independently. The essence of the tort lies in the fact that the owner of an animal is bound to take care of the animal so that it does not stray on to the land of his neighbour and failure to do this results in the commission of trespass and he is personally liable for the injury caused by such animal.

There are certain extra-judicial remedies available to a person injured by a trespass, for example, distress damage feasant is the right to seize chattels which have done damage on land.  Where the chattel seized is a cow, there is no right to use or sell it, but merely to detain it until the owner offers compensation.  Such cow must be adequately taken care of, that is, feeding, free from ill treatment and any form of cruelty and when the owner comes, assessment of damages will also include the expenses incurred in keeping the victim. It is the exact animal which causes the damage that should be seized and not the innocent one.  Here, the right to sue is postponed until the chattel is returned.

Livestock may be detained (subject to notice to the owner and police) for compensation supported by a right of sale27. These provisions apply only to damage caused by straying animals, they do not give powers of detention in the case of other forms of damages by animals e.g damage caused by negligent control where the animal has not in fact strayed.
On scienter action, (liability for dangerous animals) strict liability is imposed upon a person who keeps a dangerous animal which causes damage to another. The essence of this tort is synonymous with cattle trespass because the duty of care is imposed on the keeper and he will be responsible for any remedy. Animals are divided into two.  (1) Animals ferae naturae i.e. animals belonging to a species which is normally harmful and (2) Animal Mansuetae naturae is conclusively presumed to be dangerous, and the keeper of such animal is liable for any harm it may cause without proof that the particular animal was savage. Thus, in the case of Behrens v Bertram Mills Circus28- the keepers of a “time” elephant in a circus were held liable when the animal without any aggression, knocked down and injured the plaintiff.

Where damage is caused by an animal of a class of mansuetae naturae, the keeper of the animal will be liable only if: (a) the particular animal had a vicious tendency (scienter) and (b) the keeper knew of that tendency.  However, in Nigeria, the case of Daryani v Njoku is illuminating29 here.  D was attacked and bitten by a dog belonging to N. There was evidence that on a previous occasion the dog had bitten a housemaid and that this incident had been reported to N’s wife, though apparently not to N himself. Sowemimo J. held that scienter has been established and N was liable.

In conclusion, apart from any liability in cattle trespass or under scienter rule, the keeper of an animal owes it a duty of care that it does not become a source of harm to other as we saw in Daryani v Njoku. But if for any reason, an action cannot be brought under any of the rules mentioned, plaintiff may still recover in negligence and not the animal to be held responsible for the damage caused or punished for the same.

For the purpose of discussion under game management, Wild Animals Laws of Northern Nigeria would be used as a guide whilst the Wild Animals Preservation Law of Oyo State is used as a case study for new state that retained the old 1963 law.30

The first port of call is the schedule made pursuant to the law that prohibited, specially protected and protected animals.  The law is considered to be inappropriate on the premise that each State had the responsibility of issuing hunting permits valid only within its own boundaries.  Moreover, the overall and local status of the animals named in the schedules had changed over the immediate past decade and re-allocation was needed.  Furthermore, some unscheduled animals were in desperate need of total protection to forestall their extinction within the next decade.

Notable among these were the large and medium size cats, lions, leopard, cheetah, golden cat, caracal and several others.  Among the endangered carnivores were the two species of hyena, wild hunting dog and jackal. Among the birds, the total protection of the ostrich and its eggs, the rosy pelican, crowned crane, secretary bid and both the greater bustards were indeed overdue for statutory protection.

Another notable shortcoming in the 1963 law was the definition of a “game reserve” not conforming to that of the International Union for the conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) “game sanctuaries” were mentioned but not defined.

Sanctuary was defined by the African Convention for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources as “an area (1) set aside to protect characteristic wildlife and especially bird communities or to protect particularly threatened animal or plant species and especially those listed in the Annexe of the African conservation of nature together with the biotopes essential for their survival (2) in which all other interests and activities shall be subordinated to this end.”

The same convention defined a” Game Reserve” as an area

i.       Set aside for the conservation, management and propagation of wildlife, animal life and the protection and management of its habitat;
ii.     Within which the hunting, killing, capturing of fauna shall be prohibited under the direction or control of the reserve authorities;
iii.   Where settlement and other human activities shall be controlled or prohibited.

Other irregularities in the said law is that, no clear regulation was legally defined for the keeping of live wild animals in captivity in Nigeria (a) as private pets, (b) for research purposes, (c) by dealers and (d) for public display (zoos).

On the heels of the above, it was suggested that the capture and maintenance of wildlife for any purpose should be comprehensibly regulated by law. Thus, the keeping of wildlife (birds inclusive) as private pets, or for school teaching purposes, would be permitted on the payment of a fee and the issuance of a licence specifying the purpose, species and conditions.

The use of indigenous wild animals for research would be regulated by the issuance of appropriate permits.  Dealers would be completely prohibited from buying, selling and keeping captured wild animals, their activity and function being taken over entirely by State and University zoos.

The law provides for the sale, disposal and manufacture of wild animal products, such as trophies, hides and skins, horn, meat e.t.c. and the export of these and lives wild animals overseas as pets, for research and for zoos.

On wildlife in unreserved areas, the 1963 law allowed hunting within its provisions, but with special adjustments to protect the needs of the State Wildlife Conservation Programme (SWCP) and to avoid causing the final extinction of al wildlife in the state.

Pursuant to the foregoing, the following wildernesses were proposed reserves for breeding and hunting: Pandam Wildlife Park 102 miles, Pai River Game Reserve 848 miles, Ankwe River Corridor (Game Reserve), Dampar Game Sanctuary and Ibi Game Reserve 600 square miles.

The most interesting part of these laws and their manifest inadequacies gave an insight into the modern laws which came on board as part of Nigeria’s contribution to the global awareness of loss of biodiversity manifested in the promulgation of many municipal laws and other international conventions, treaties, declarations and protocols which form part of the domestic laws by virtue of the country’s accession and signing of these international legal instruments.


The most illuminating law among the post 1963 laws, on game management, is the Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act. This Act that commenced n 20th April, 1985 provides, as required under certain international treaties to which Nigeria wildlife and the protection of some of her game species in danger of extinction as a result of over- exploitation.

The first schedule to the Act lists animals in relation to which international trade is absolutely prohibited.  The second schedule lists animals in relation to which international trade may only be conducted under licence.

Section 1(1) provides that 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.

Section 1(2) provides that as from the commencement of this Act, no person shall hunt, capture, trade in or otherwise deal with 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 he is in possession of a licence issued under the Act.

The provisions of the section aforementioned appear to be infallible but one wonders a little on the factors considered in grouping these animals into schedule, particularly having regard to the dearth of nature data bank in the country.  Undoubtedly many game species have been left out in these schedules whilst some species mentioned in schedule II are actually threatened with extinction, for instance, only 7 birds were mentioned in the first schedule and according to the recent reports of Important Birds Area (IBA) project in Nigeria, twenty-one of the birds found in Nigeria are known to be under various degrees of threat of extinction.  In particular, Anambra Waxbill, Ibadan Malimbe and Abdim’s stork whose migratory movement is closely linked with the Northern Nigeria are seriously endangered yet they are omitted in either of the schedules to the Act.

Section 2(1) provides that no person shall trade in any animals species in the second schedule to this Act except he complies with the following provisions:

a.    He has obtained an export permit by the Minister.
b.    The minister is satisfied that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that specimen.
c.     The minister is satisfied that where the species is to be exported alive, it will be so prepared and transported as to minimize the risk of injury, damage to health, cruel treatment or death of the animals; or
d.    The minister is satisfied that an import permit has been or will be granted for the specimen by the country of importation.

Section 2(2) provides that no person shall import any species specified in the second schedule except he had first obtained an import permit or re-export certification for that purpose.

The provisions of Section 2(1) and (2) appear sacrosanct, but latest development in the country bears sad testimony of the ineffectiveness of these provisions.  One of such latest developments is the gruesome killing of Nigeria sitatunga (antelope). The animal was rescued from illegal wildlife trader at Lekki market in 1996 by the general manager of Cross-River National Park, took it to Drill house at Calabar, returned it to Lekki in February 2002 only to be killed on 20th July 200232.

Another shortcoming lies in the drill’s story which started in April 11, 1995 when two drill monkeys smuggled out of Nigeria were intercepted at Manilla Airport in the Philippines and a Pakistani couple were said to be behind the obnoxious act as they were arrested with the animals after arriving Manilla aboard Pakistani flight 780 from Karachi, Pakistan. The smugglers were also found with personal luggage of a baby Gorilla and seven other monkeys all without CITES permit required for international transportation of such endangered species.

A cursory look at the aforesaid developments shows that the machinery for the enforcement of the provisions is wanting.  The circumstances surrounding the death of the said antelope- a species protected under the first schedule, is non-existent.  The second development on the transportation of endangered species without permit was not discovered in Nigeria but in a foreign country which would ordinarily not be concerned about the Nigeria’s loss of natural resources.

Worse still, nothing has been done by the Nigerian government to redress the wrongs attributable to the aforesaid developments.

Section 2(5) provides that no certificate for the removal from any water of any specimen in the second schedule to this Act shall be issued unless the minister is satisfied that

a.    The removal shall not be detrimental to the survival of the specimen concerned.
b.    The recipient of a living specimen is fully and suitably equipped to receive and care for it and
c.     The specimen shall not be used for a primarily commercial purpose.

It is observed that the provisions of Section 2(2) are breached with impunity even on daily basis.  Most rivers or waters in Nigeria are without any surveillance or supervision or control.  This is evident in major cities like waters in Lagos metropolis, Eleyele and Asejire Rivers in Ibadan and a host of others.

Section 3(1) provides that a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of this Act shall be in such form as the minister may prescribe and shall remain in force for a period of six months or such other period from the date of issue as the minister may prescribe.

Subsection 2 provides that the minister shall cancel and retain the export or re-export certificate and any corresponding import permit presented in respect of the importation of any specimen affected by this Act.

Subsection 3 provides that a separate permit shall be required for each consignment of any specimen imported, exported or re-exported under this Act.

Section 4(1) provides that the minister may by an order published in the federal gazette

a.    alter the list of animals specified in the first or Second Schedule to this Act by way of addition, substitution or deletion or otherwise however; and
b.    make different provision in relation to different species or as respect importation, exportation, re-exportation of animals and plants from Nigeria and impose such conditions as he may deem necessary.

Subsection 2 provides that where the minister is satisfied that a specimen was bred entirely under captivity the provisions of sections 1-3 of this Act shall not apply to such specimen and the minister shall issue certificate to that effect.

Subsection 3 provides that in this section “captivity” includes confinement in any of the following places, that is, a laboratory, zoo or wildlife rescue centre established under section 5(3) of this Act.

These provisions have also not achieved any result as the animals listed in the schedules to the Act still remain as they were from the inception of the law.  The schedules are over-due for a review in view of significant omissions of many dangerously endangered species as noted earlier in this work. More importantly, many game species listed in the second schedule should have been removed and added to the species in the first schedule by virtue of their existence being endangered.  For example, no exception should be given to monkeys as all available species of monkeys are now endangered.  The recent development of their captivity for domestication and amusement make the matter worse, as many people scramble to get one, thus indirectly contributing to their extinction as they perform poorly in captivity.

Section 5 of the Act makes provision for punishment of offender in breach of any of the provision of the Act.  It is my respectful view that the fine of N1,000 is not enough to serve as a deterrent notwithstanding the fact that the second or subsequent offender risks only one year imprisonment.  In other words, a fine of N1,000 is too meager having regard to the prevailing economic situation in the country which makes N1,000 a ridiculously low sum of money for the punishment of offenders in relation to animals under the second schedule.  However, a punishment of forfeiture is a welcome development and an improvement over the old laws.

Apart from the foregoing observation, there are manifest lacunas in the area of enforcement of the provisions of the Act, which include the provision relating to arrest either by police or private person as envisaged under Federal Environmental Protection Agency Act and Criminal Code. For example, if Mr. Clement Ebin (The one time Cross River National Park’s Manager) was aware of legal support, otherwise he would not have only rescued Sitatunga” a protected antelope under the first schedule, but also arrested the illegal wildlife trader at Lekki market in 1996.

Another plague of the law is not only the ignorance that is rife among law enforcement agents that they have a duty to arrest under the Act but where the Act itself is either not appreciated by the police or that the police have no knowledge of the existence of the law, thereby thinking that there is nothing they can do. Consequently, such breaches of the law will continue on a large scale.

Notwithstanding the above, kudos must be given to the arrest and the attendant’s court proceedings against the killer of “Tunde” (deceased antelope) as the culprit was made to face the wrath of the law in law court which proceedings were closely monitored by NCF;33 similarly also was the arrest of a Pakistani couple who stole away our endangered natural resources through the assistance of a foreign government.

Furthermore, the story of Vicki34 (the chimpanzee) is still fresh in our memories when in September 3, 1997, one Mallam Baita Sani Awal Garma of Kano State was arrested at the Baissa checkpoint in Baissa Local Government of Taraba State for being in possession of Vicki and three other Tantalus monkeys without the legal documents.  The accused was thereafter arraigned before a Grade One Area Court in Biassa, charged under the Wild Animal Laws No. 16 of 1963, (Amended Edict 1975).  He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with an option of N2,000 fine which he paid while he also forfeited the chimpanzee to the state government.

Another incident worthy of mention is the unfolded illegal gorilla trade between a Nigerian and Malaysian zoo whereby a baby gorilla was sold for $400,000 U.S. dollars while a baby Mandrill was offered for 125,000 U.S dollars.


There was not a single piece of legislation in Nigeria known as Environmental Protection Ordinance or Act or Law or Decree or Edict until the promulgation of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency Act in 1988. There are abundant efforts, at the federal, state and local government levels in this country to arrest the abuse of and threat to the wholesomeness of our environment as a result of the impact of man’s activities and technological/industrial development on the essential component of our ecosystem.

A critical look at the statue books has revealed isolated national laws meant to preserve the utility and wholesomeness of air, land and water.  In addition to these, Nigeria has also signed or acceded to several environment related multilateral treaties, which have now become part of our laws, either by subsequent Nigerian enactment.

Legislation for natural resource conservation in this country has not paid much attention to the habitat of the animals.  It was the conservation strategy that the habitat to be found in and outside the reserves must be managed side by side with the species of interest. Protecting species without protecting their habitat is an exercise in futility because a viable habitat presupposes species survival. Laws regulating the uses of natural resources have not always recognised the need for penalties commensurate with the market value of some of these resources, status of the species in consonance with the going rate of inflation and competition for these resources.  Legislation on resources extraction and utilisation is often haphazardly enforced or selectively applied.  There are also conflicts as to what levels of government and which government agencies should have responsibility for implementation of the laws.

The conservation strategy made recommendations for a quick review of the situation and that the natural resources agencies must evolve innovative legislation that will support incentives for actions that ensure the conservation of the resources, inclusive of fisheries.

Before examining other major legislations, it is also pertinent to note in passing some of the existing federal laws, on the control of activities relating to the environment which laws include but not limited to the:

a.    Criminal Code35 which its Section 247 prohibits acts which renders the atmosphere noxious to the health of persons in specified places. Section 245 prohibits the fouling of water.

b.   Petroleum Act (Drilling and production) Regulations36. It’s Sections 25 enjoins the licencee to adopt all practicable precautions to prevent pollution of inland water systems as well as the territorial water of Nigeria or the high seas by oil, mud, or other fluids or substance capable of causing harm or destruction to fresh water or marine life. If any such pollution occurs, the licensee or lessee must take prompt steps to control and if possible end it. Section 21 discourages the cutting of trees without the consent of the state authority. The combined effect of these provisions indirectly contributes to the game management through the protection of their habitat.

c.    Bees (Importation Control and Management) Act37. Section 1 prohibits the importation of the said insects without the necessary approval.  Section 5 makes provisions for the punishment of offenders.
Even though the punishment of fines of forty, hundred and two hundred naira as the case may be are to meager, yet the imprisonment of six months may serve as deterrent
d.   Oil in Navigable waters Act38. The combined effects of Section 1,2,3,5,6,and 17 prohibit the discharge of oil into designated sea areas, provide penalty for the specified offences and the enforcement of the international convention for the prevention of pollution of the sea by oil.

e.     Sea Fisheries Act39. The provisions of Section 1,8,9 and 10 regulated motor fishing within the Nigerian territorial waters and prohibit certain method of fishing like the use of any explosive or noxious or poisonous water.  A punishment on conviction is N200 or 6 months imprisonment or both. It is also my view that the amount is too negligible to deter those acts inimical to fish conservation being part of game management in Nigeria.

f.      River Basins Development Authorities Act40. This law establishes eleven authorities which exercised certain powers and functions.  By virtue of its Section 4(i)(a) the authorities shall undertake comprehensive development of both surface and underground water resources for multipurpose use, with particular emphasis on the provision of irrigation, infrastructure, the control of floods and erosion and for water shed management.

Subsection 1(e) provides that the authorities shall develop and keep-up-to-date, a comprehensive water resources master plan, identifying all water resources requirements in the authority’s area of operation, through adequate collection and collation of water resources, water use, socio-economic and environmental data of the River Basin.

This is in law, no doubt instrumental to the evaluation and monitoring of critical fish habitat, for reason of it’s significance in the life cycle of fishes.  The authority, if managed properly according to the law, would assist in highlighting those measures which will favour the conservation of the resources.  It will also correct the disability attributable to resource management recourse inventories which have never been taken.  The population diversities of species are not known whilst species composition are not up to date.



        It is imperative to make incursion into environmental protection laws in Nigeria having regard to their direct bearing on game management first as a source of renewable resources and also as a source of renewable energy.

        Undoubtedly, environment includes game. For the purpose of discussion under this head, there is a need to define what is meant by environment.  According to the Section 38 of Federal Environmental Protection Agency Act41 “Environment” includes Water, Air, Land and all plants and human beings or animals living therein an the inter-relationship which exists among the species or any of them.

Today, the major contribution of environmental pollution is the emission of natural gas and habitat loss.

For the purpose of discussion of Natural gas as a source of pollution, emphasis is laid on associated gas and the attendant risk of gas flaring.

It is pertinent to make a succinct incursion into the process of gas glaring and its effects on game management before examining the provisions of relevant laws and policies.

Nigeria’s Niger Delta region is a prolific petroleum province. It contributes immensely to the nation’s gas surplus in reserves at the estimate of 159 trillion cubic feet (TCF) comprising 85 TCF of associated gas and 74 TCF of Non-Associated gas. As a result of the country’s under utilization of gas, about 2 billion cubic feet is flared daily which represents over 60% of the daily gas production in the Niger Delta.  This accounts for over 20% of the total daily flaring of gas globally42.

Gas flaring apart from being a wastage and huge depletion of natural resource, is also associated with global climate change with its attendant risks of global warming, deforestation, flooding and acid rain, lower rainfall leading to soil degradation and loss of biodiversity. Apart from this, the climate change occasioned by gas flaring has adverse effects on fisheries as a resource base of the marine, coastal and contiguous river environment and the oceans, including the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria’s southern shores that is of significant socio-economic value as suppliers of resources.


        The utilization and conservation of natural gas are regulated by the provisions of the Associated Gas Re-Injection Act which makes provisions for penalties such as forfeiture of oil prospecting licence or oil mining lease in case of breach.
Section 1 provides that every company in the oil and gas section in Nigeria shall submit to the minister a preliminary programme for:

a.    Schemes for the viable utilisation of all associated gas produced from a field or groups of fields.
b.    Project or projects to re-inject all gas produced in association with oil but not utilized in an industrial project.

Section 3(1) provides that no company engaged in the production of oil or gas shall flare gas produced in association with the oil without the permission in writing.

Section (3)2 is to the effect that where the minister is satisfied that utilisation or re-injection of the produced gas is not appropriate or feasible in a particular filed, he may issue a certificate in that respect, to a company engaged in the production of oil or gas, specifying such terms and conditions as he may at his discretion choose to impose for the company to continue flaring of gas in the particular field or fields, or permitting the company to flare gas in the particular field or fields, if the company pays such sum as the minister may from time to time prescribe.

Section 4 provides that where any person commits an offence under Section 3 of the Act of the Act, the person concerned shall forfeit the concessions granted to him in the particular field or fields in relation to which the offence is committed.

The Act appears comprehensive but not without shortcomings especially in the area of penalty enforcement. Despite the existence of this Act for more than two decades, gas flaring still continues unabated in the Niger Delta Region.

In view of the recent impact of gas flaring on the local environment and the awareness associated with Nigeria’s efforts in global environmental protection, successive Administrative era in the country took some steps which include token taxation which rather encouraged flaring, in a further step at finding a lasting solution to the problem, the National Vision 2010 Committee, upon its establishment, adopted a compromised stance.  The new initiative by the previous democratic government is to encourage natural gas gathering and utilization with the ultimate aim of terminating gas flaring in Nigeria by the year 200444. However, the flaring still continues till date although there is the hope that the recently established West African Gas Pipeline Project between Nigeria and Ghana would play a major role in the reduction of gas flaring.

In consideration of the colossal waste and unprecedented depletion of natural resources, there is, today, a monumental national initiative for the timely development of an implementable gas utilization master plan which started from the efforts of both national and multinational oil companies embarking on projects for efficient utilisation of associated gas in the country.  Worthy of mention in this regard is the West African Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP) which is expected to utilize a sizeable volume of gas through its supplies to neighbouring West African countries and the reports from various quarters appear encouraging.  The Nigeria Liquidified Natural Gas (NLNG) has stopped its gas flaring by 50% through its export to Europe.  Other companies such as NNPC/Chevrons Gas pipeline project (WASGP), Exxon Mobil, Agip, Shell have also geared towards that direction of gas flaring reduction.


This Act was enacted by the Federal Military Government as a Decree that established the Federal Environmental Protection Agency with effect from the December 30th 1988.  The Agency consists of a chairman, appointed by the president and representative each from the following Federal Ministries of Health, Science & Technology, Works and Housing, Industries, Mines, Power and Steel, Employment, Labour and Productivity, Petroleum Resources, Transport, Aviation.  Section 36 (b) of the Amendment essentially repeals the National Resources Conservation Act (Cap 286 Law of Federation, 1990).
FUNCTION: The Agency is responsible for the protection and development of the environment in general, environmental research and technology and specifically in accordance with section 4 of the Act.

        By virtue of section 9 of the Act, the Director of the Agency is empowered, subject to the policies laid down by the agency, generally to develop programmes to carry out the purposes and provisions of the Act and in particular in consultation with appropriate agencies to:

a.    establish programmes for the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution of the nation’s air, land and interstate waters as well as national programmes for restoration and enhancement of the nation’s environment;
b.    encourage and promote the co-ordination of environmentally related activities at all levels;
c.     utilise and promote the expansion of research, experiments, surveys and studies by public or private agencies; institutions and organizations as concerning causes, effects, extent, prevent, reduction and elimination of pollution and such other matters related to environmental protection as the Agency may, from time to time determine necessary and useful; and
d.    conduct public investigations on pollution.


1.     Water Quality-By virtue of the provisions of Section 15, the Agency is required to make recommendations to the minister for the purpose of establishing water quality standard.  In establishing such standards, the Decree clearly enjoins the Agency to take into consideration such factors as “the use and value for public water supplies, propagation of fish and wildlife, recreational purposes, agricultural, industrial and other legitimate uses”.     

2.     Air Quality- By virtue of section 17 of the Act, the Agency is mandated to establish criteria, guidelines, specifications and standards to protect and enhance the quality of Nigeria’s air resources so as to promote the public health or welfare and the normal development and productive capacity of the nation’s human, animal or plant life.  In order to achieve these objectives the Act places great emphasis on:

a.    Minimum essential air quality standards for human, animal or plant health.
b.    The control of concentration of substance in the air which separately or in combination are likely to result in damage or deterioration of property or of human, animal and plant health.
c.     The most appropriate means to prevent and combat various forms of atmospheric pollution.
d.    Controls for atmospheric pollution originating from energy sources including that produced by aircraft and other self-propelled vehicles and in factories and power generating stations.
e.    Standards applicable to emission from any new mobile sources which in the Agency’s judgment causes or contributes to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare; and
f.      The use of appropriate means to reduce emission to permissible levels.


        This Act makes some amendments to the Principal Act. This brings into focus the extension of the provisions of the Act to include the health and welfare of biodiversity of animals and plants against its monolithic tendency towards human heath and welfare only.

Section 5 of the Amendment Act in amending the Section 4  of the Principal Act added the phrase “and biodiversity conservation and sustainable development of Nigeria’s natural resources” to the word “environment”.
Section 6 in amending Section 5 of the principal Act extended the word “matters” to include the degradation of natural resources whilst the phrase “natural resources conservation”  was added to the word “implementation of” in the principal Act.
Section 8 of the Act also amended Section 9 of the principal Act by adding the phrase and natural resources or conservation to the relevant paragraphs.

The Environmental Impact Assessment Act hereinafter referred to as “EIA” came into effect in December, 1992 as an environmental policy instrument in Nigeria.  The Act sets our procedures, methods and sanctions for non-compliance etc and for prior consideration by the EIA for public or private section projects in Nigeria.

The EIA is a formal study process used to predict the environmental consequences of a proposed major development project.  The Act was designed to concentrate on the problems, conflicts or “natural resources constraints” that could affect the viability of the project.  It also examines how a project might cause harm to people, their homelands or their livelihoods or to other nearby property.

The assessments deal with project impact on every phase of the total environment; name it; fisheries, wildlife and their habitats, anthropology, aesthetics or even regional economy.  The main objective of an environmental assessment is to predict or measure the environmental effort of construction and operational activities to contribute and propose ways of correction or reducing those effects in order to give appropriate environmental protection in a cost effective manner.

The countries of Eastern Europe have been increasingly responsive to the idea that EIA should be an integral part of state planning. For example, Hungary and Poland have adopted the application of EIA.  Developing countries of the world have also been quick in appreciating that Mandatory EIA procedures offer a means of introducing some aspects of environmental planning, in the absence of formal statutes on land-use planning or control systems.
Colombia in South America was the first to adopt EIA legislation in 1974. Brazil has since adopted such legislation. In Asia and the pacific region- Thailand and the Philippines have since established procedures for EIA. In Africa, the situation is less definite. This is accounted for by a general dearth of information.  However, Rwanda, Botswana, Kenya and Sudan have also enacted their own EIA legislations.

Now in Nigeria, all development projects at federal, state and local government levels are now to be subjected to environmental impact analysis right from their early budgetary stages under a new national policy already being implemented.
The National Planning Minister once disclosed that the National Planning Commission (NPC) has also established an environmental unit that will ensure the integration of environmental concerns.

Consideration of the potential environmental impact of development and investment decisions is now a standard prerequisite requirement for funding by many institutions and lending bodies such as the World Bank, Asia Development Bank, African Development Bank and other multilateral and bilateral funding organisations47.

On the operation of the Act, both the National Planning Commission (NPC) and FEPA are now reviewing major development projects in Nigeria to test the EIA procedures and guidelines.

FEPA has also set up a multi-disciplinary EIA Secretariat which is currently being strengthened through natural and international training as well as providing adequate facilities.

The World Bank – Assisted Programme donated to FEPA in September 1998 some equipment for analysing plants, air, soil and water.  Some of them were transferred to FEPA laboratories in Kano and Enugu and others meant for other state offices were sent to Lagos office for distribution.

At a conference of Chief Executives of FEPA Agencies held in Lafia Nassarawa State in 1998, the recommendations for the immediate implementation of the various environmental guidelines included those on logging, mining activities, urban development, water and air quality, registration of green-technology and eco-labeling, environmental management system and waste disposal through underground injector.


This Regulation commenced on August, 15th 1991. Paragraph 1 provides that no industry or facility shall release hazardous or toxic substance into the air, water or land or Nigeria’s ecosystem beyond limits approved by the Agency.
Paragraph 2 provides that an industry or a facility shall:

a.     have a pollution monitoring unit within its premises;
b.     have on site a pollution control;
c.      assign the responsibility for pollution control to a person or body, corporate accredited by the Agency.

Paragraph 15(1) provides that no effluent with constituents beyond permissible limits shall be discharged into public drains, rivers, lakes, sea or underground injection without a permit issued by the Agency or any organisation designated by the Agency.


        The foregoing federal and state environmental protection legislation have employed some of the well-known enforcement strategies in order to ensure success of this legislation.

        The principal enforcement agents for the widely pervading State Environmental Sanitation Edicts are members of the established Environmental Task Force, Committee, and Authority etc.  Within each state, they are vested with far reaching powers under the Edicts to enable them perform these functions effectively. They have the powers of inspection, abatement, apprehension, arrest and prosecution.

        The enforcement agents are the regular law enforcement officers of the state. Members of the established Agency will constitute the principal enforcement agents for that Act. An inference from the interpretation section of FEPA shows that Federal High Court is the appropriate court for the prosecution Act. The jurisdiction of the Federal High Court is limited and entertains lesser number of suits than that of the High Court.  This makes the Federal High Court effective forum for the adjudication on matters of the Federal Environmental protection legislation.
        The FEPA Act also prescribes severe penalty of a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and/or a fine not exceeding N100, 000.00 under Section 20(2). By virtue of Section20(3) where the violator of Section 20(11) that prohibits the discharge of harmful or hazardous substance into the air, water or land is a body corporate, such body corporate shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding N500,000 and an additional fine of N1,000 for everyday the offence continues.


        The power to inspect as a mechanism for the enforcement of these laws is very plausible amongst others. While most of the other enforcement mechanisms are set in motion after violation of the legislation, the power to inspect is exercisable before such incident. Certainly, the power to inspect is designed to ensure that the law is obeyed and that things are done according to the dictates of the law.
For example, Section 25 of FEPA Act provides thus “for the purposes of enforcing this Decree, any authorised officer may without warrant

a.    require to be produced, examine and take copies of any licence, permit, certificate or other documents required under this Decree or any regulations made thereunder;
b.    require to be produced and examined any appliance, device or other item used in relation to environmental protection”.

        This is like a Siamese twin to the power to inspect. However, unlike the former, the power to search is usually exercised upon a suspected violation of the law. Section 26 of FEPA provides that where an authorised officer has reasonable ground to believe that an offence has been committed contrary to the Act or any regulation made there under, he may without a warrant enter and search any land, building, vehicle, tent, vessels, floating craft or any inland water or other structure whatsoever in which he had reason to believe that an offence against the decree or any regulation made there under has been committed.

        Other powers include sealing, seizure, and forfeiture.  The power is given to an authorised enforcement agent to arrest any person whom he has reason to believe, has committed an offence, under the particular law for the purpose of holding or detaining him to answer a criminal charge or civil demand.

        Another important mechanism is the private litigation as a viable process of enforcing the laws and regulations on environmental protection. This gives the concerned citizens right to enforce the law against the private or public establishment. In other words, where the government is the polluter or guilty of any act detrimental to the environment, an individual may set machinery of law in motion against the erring government.

        This possibility of someone or group to also keep a check on the government and its agents to ensure that they comply with the environmental protection standard is worthwhile.


        This Act provides for the control and prevention of animal introduction and spread of infectious and contagious diseases among animals, hatcheries and poultries in Nigeria. The law which commenced on 24th February, 1988 by its Section 2 prohibits importation of animal products except under a licence.

        Section 4 prohibits importation of infectious agent except under a permit.

        Section 5 provides for the seizure of destruction of animal illegally imported.

        The penalty for the offence of illegal importation of animals is provided for under Section 7(2) thus: “any person who is guilty of any such breach, non-compliance or contravention under this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than N1, 000 or imprisonment for three months or to both such fine and imprisonment”.

        Section 10 provides other punishments ranging from N250 to three months imprisonment and forfeiture of the animal. The Act also designated several places as quarantine stations particularly the air and seaports.
        But despite the existence of this law, the indiscriminate importation of animals into the country without the necessary precautions and checks is very rife and this act is capable of endangering the country’s fragile environment.
        It was reported that some government parastatals, state governments and individuals were importing animals into the country unchecked.  This is inimical to the environment because the animals are alien to this country.  Most of them will not replenish our indigenous stock. Rather, they destroy them.

        Examples abound on the effect of such introduction in other countries of the world.  The Indian mongoose, the zebra mussel, the North American grey squirrel, the walking catfish, the Rosy wolf snail, all destroyed their host communities. In Nigeria however, the tree snake native to Australia and Indonesia has wiped our native forest birds on Guam.


        Here, the only relevant provision of the law is Section 38(1) which empowers the Minister for Mines and Power to make regulations for the prevention of pollution of any natural water supply and the disposal of wastes.


        There is no constitutional policy statement on the environment or game management ipso facto, but by implication, some sections of the Constitution, envisage the need to protect our environment upon which our survival depends.

        Relevant sections under chapter II of the 1999 Constitution, which deals with fundamental objectives and directive principle of the state policy, have bearing on the nation’s game management.

        Section 14 (2)(b) provides thus “it is hereby accordingly declared that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.

        Section 16(1) provides that the state shall within the context of the ideals and objection for which provisions are made in this constitution.
a.     control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of states and opportunities.

        Section 17(1) provides that the social order is founded on ideals of freedom, equality and justice.

        Subsection (2) states that in furtherance of the social order (a) exploitation of human or natural resources in any form whatsoever for reasons other than the good of the community shall be prevented.

There can be no other interpretation of these provisions other than that the power vests in the Federal Government for the control of natural resources is to be exercised for the benefit of the generality of the people.


        Nigeria has no articulate comprehensive policy on the environmental care and wildlife’s utilization.  However, there are specific declaration of law and objectives in some authentic sources, which could support a vision towards a pragmatic policy for game management. They are the following:

        This strategy was established in 1986 and set out objectives for living resources conservation through

a.    maintaining genetic diversity in order to ensure permanence in the supply of materials to satisfy basic human needs and thus improve the well being of society;
b.    promoting the scientific value of natural ecosystems, the study of which is required to enhance conservation itself, to improve the management of man-made systems, and to provide clues to technical innovations in agriculture, medicine and industry;
c.     regulating environmental balance in such factors as carbon dioxide and radiation levels and the bio-geo chemical cycles;
d.    maintaining ecological services through the protection of catchment’s areas in order to enhance water resources and check soil erosion and flooding, protection of grazing lands against desert encroachment and the stabilization of coastal zones and;
e.    Enhancing the amenities values of natural resources, including aesthetic, heritage, religious, sentimental, ethical and recreational values on which tourism may be built.

The National Conservation Strategy was adopted as the models for conservation in Nigeria and was subsequently followed by the promulgation of the Natural Resources Conservation Council Decree which was later repealed by FEPA Amendment Act, 1992.


        This policy was established in 1989. Sections 2 and 3 dealing with the policy goal and strategy for areas provide for some strategies for achieving the goals of securing development while at the same time sustaining the productivity of the natural vegetation; protecting wildlife; maintaining genetic diversity and avoiding forest and soil destruction.

        Section 2 provides that the goal of the National Policy on the Environment is to achieve sustainable development in Nigeria, and, in particular to “(a) secure for all Nigerians a quality of environment adequate for their health and wellbeing; (b) conserve and use the environment and natural resources for the benefits of present and future generations; (c) restore, maintain and enhance the ecosystem, and ecological processes essential for the functioning of the biosphere to preserve biological diversity and the principle of optimum sustainable yield in the use of living natural resources and ecosystem…..”

        Section 3(3) dealing with Water Resources Management provides various strategies to be employed. The subsection provides, inter alia, for the provision of water in adequate quality and acceptable quality to meet the domestic, industrial, agricultural and recreational needs, the consideration of the environmental impacts of water resources development at the planning stages, the establishment of adequate controls and enforcement procedures to prevent contamination and depletion of water resources conservation and improvement of water quality conditions and the ecological systems of the water bodies (for fishes and other fauna and flora) etc.

        Section 3(4) dealing with forestry, wildlife and protected areas provides for some strategies for achieving the goals of securing development while at the same time sustaining the productivity of the natural vegetation, protecting wildlife, maintaining genetic diversity and avoiding forest and soil destruction.  The strategies include, inter alia, promoting the rational exploitation of forest resources; regulating forestry activities to enhance conservation and environmentally sound management practices; protecting flora and fauna in danger of extinction as well as forest reserves for scientific, recreational and other cultural purposes; increasing support for non-governmental organization (NGOs) and community tree planting programmes, protecting forests from bush and forest fires and taking measures to discourage wanton destruction of forest resources; strengthening programmes for the identification and study of the natural heritage in fauna and flora and for establishing a national inventory of forest resources; developing and disseminating scientific and technological information conclusive to more efficient use of forest resources and wildlife; supporting the goals of the National Conservation strategy for Nigeria etc.

        Section 3(5) in dealing with marine and coastal area resources provides for environmental assessment and monitoring programmes to be operated routinely to highlight vulnerable species and ecosystems bearing in mind the limited stocks of living and non living exploitable resources; sustain ecological diversity and productivity; identify and map critical and sensitive habitats to enable project designs to take appropriate steps to minimise damage and disturbance to breeding, nesting and feeding areas of all species.

Pursuant to the above, some efforts embarked upon by both the Federal and State governments in sustaining biodiversity and productivity are commendable.  For example, President Olusegun Obasanjo held a meeting with the Honourable Ministers of Agriculture, Environment and Finance in 2001 and the expressed serious concern over the status and continued threat to Nigerian environment and he particularly noted.

i.       Environmental degradation arising from loss of vegetation cover generally,  and especially in the Northern Guinea and Sahel region of the country.
ii.     Rapid depletion of our natural forest, arising from unplanned, over-exploitation of forest products for domestic use and exports and
iii.   slow or non-growth (or even decline) of man-made tree/crop plantations for both industrial and food use.

Pursuant to this, the president set up committee on National Tree Nursery Development (NTND) under the chairmanship of Professor Ango Abdullahi with membership drawn from relevant public and private sector agencies.  The Committee after its establishment and upon its recent survey discovered that millions of seedlings of improved varieties of tree crops were available in both private and public nurseries across the country that needs to be transplanted. Seedlings of interest and in stock included; cocoa, oil-palm, rubber, gum Arabic, cashew, teak, eucalyptus, neem, date palm as well as budded mango and citrus which are available for sale to farmers/interested persons and bodies at reduced prices.

        This Act, which was commenced on 26th May, 1999 repealed the earlier National Parks Decree 1991. The Act is very comprehensive in terms of the scope of its tentacles to almost all areas necessarily incidental to the preservation and conservation of wild animals and plants. It is encompassing in terms of regulatory authorities, punishments for offender, the vexed issue of ownership of wild animals, solution to the problem associated with lack of nature of data bank and other issues material to good game management.

        Apart from the above, the Act through its provisions complement the efforts of other existing legislation particularly the Animal Diseases Act51, Endangered Species Act, Federal Environmental Protection Agency and a host of others.

        Section 6 of the Act makes provision for almost infallible objectives of the National Park Service which are aimed at maintaining the population of game species in Nigeria        for the utilisation of the present and future generations.

        Section 4 provides for fourteen functions of the Service with liberty to make further steps towards achieving the purpose of the service.

        Section 8 gives the Service unfettered powers to do what is necessary for the smooth performance.

        Section 18 deals with the power of the Head of State (now President) to declare any areas as National Parks and make orders in respect of other matters incidental to such declaration.

        Section 20 attempts to lay to rest the issue of ownership of wild animals and plants by providing that same is vested in the Federal Government. However, Subsection 5 deviates a bit on the animal found outside the park, the ownership of which is not vested in the Federal Government unless it is shown to be in the course of a recognised natural migratory route or pattern to or from the National Park.

        Considering the provisions of Subsection 5, problems are bound to arise depending on the following scenarios;

1.     if the wild animal is an endangered species and it found on a High way having regard to the provisions of Land Use Act that vests all lands   in the President or state Governor depending on the location of the land, will it not be right for an individual to claim ownership of such wild animal?

2.     It is submitted that all these are questions of fact which are subject to human manipulation and which effect would adversely affect the intendment of this Act and other legislation relating to the conservation of natural resources, particularly in Endangered Species Act which gives no limit or bound or location for the capture or hunting of the prohibited species.

        Section 21 of the Act establishes for each of the eight National Parks a Management Committee whilst Section 22 makes provisions for their functions.

        Sections 25-29 make exhaustive provisions in management of the National Parks.

        Section 30 of the Act makes provisions restricting hunting and other anti-conservation acts in the National Parks.

        Section 32 restricts the carrying or use of weapons or fire arms or explosives and other instrument designed to capture or kill animal.

        Section 33 prohibits the introduction of wild animals into the National Parks. The implication of this is not far fetched from the attendant risks of diseases, destruction or disruption of ecosystem etc.

        Section 34 prohibits domestic animals in the National Parks. This is also aimed, among other things, at discouraging cattle grazing and introduction of diseases to the existing game species.

        Section 35 prohibits the introduction of plants into the National Parks. This is also designed to forestall a situation whereby the introduced stock destroys the existing ones and further distort the ecosystem of the parks.

        Section 36 restricts prospecting for genetic materials any biological material from the National Park without written consent of the Minister on the recommendation of the Service.

        Section 37,38 and 39 make provisions for various offences and penalties.

        Section 45 provides that environmental impact assessment for all the proposed or existing activity on the wildlife species of community should be made in accordance with the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Decree, 1992, (now Act).

        Another Section worthy of mention is Section 49 which provides for the participation of local communities in the management of the National Parks through consultation with the Board and Management Committees of the National Parks.

        Despite the all-encompassing nature of the National Park Service Act, the National Parks in Nigeria are not totally free from the contemporary problem facing the National Parks in all counties of the would.

        It is not in doubt that thousands of civilised people are beginning to realise that wildness is a necessity and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timbers and irrigation river, but as fountains of life.

        The implications of the Act is to preserve the parks in their natural state, the park service is required to protect wildlife from trappers and hunters and to preserve the forests, streams and lakes form despoliation. Thus, timber cutting is prohibited and trees are left to topple of old age or to be blown down in a windstorm. Once fallen, they are left where they fell.  Mining is forbidden and so is the grazing of sheep and cattle.  Private cabins cannot be built in a National Park and the only structures permitted are those needed by government services and the concessionaries.

        Pursuant to the Act, the eight National Parks under the National Parks Service (NPS) have remained focused on the protection of the parks’ integrity and resources in accordance with the Act.  The Wildlife Conservation was developing very fast in Nigeria in late 1970s. More areas were gazetted as game reserves while the existing ones were being developed.  The game reserves later metamorphosed into the present eight National Parks with Okomu National Park as the latest addition to the National Parks already in existence.

        The possibility of establishing a park in Nigeria started as long as 1931 following the visit of a special mission to West Africa to inquire into the preservation of wildlife. The aftermath of this was a contemplation of using “Duguri Bush” (now Yankari).  The Northern Regional Game Preservation Committee in 1954 approved in principle to establish a pilot game reserve in Buachi Emirate.

        The recommendations and ideas caught good impression and approval of the then Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources following his visit to a game reserve in Sudan and permitted the establishment in 1956.  There had been no settlement in the area for over 100 years prior to the designation of the place as game reserve.  It was upgraded to a National Park status under a special request from Bauchi State Government in 1991.

        The present day Yankari underwent seven years of strict protection and management under the supervision of late Jibrin Jia, an indigene of Niger State, born about 1916.  He assumed the duty as a regional game warden in charge of the Yankari Game Reserve on 14th July, 1959 until his retirement in 1977.

        Yankari was opened to the public on 1st December, 1962 and the area covered by the Park is 2,244.10 square kilometers of savannah woodland. Today, lions that were thought to be absent in Yankari in the early 1960s have increased rapidly and are seen quite frequently, so also, are other animals like defassa waterbuck, pythons, elephant; buffaloes, tortoise, turtle, hippopotamus, hartebeest, puff adder, porcupines, Tantalus monkey, patas monkey, lynx caracal, rimm’s duiker, African giant rat, buffoon’s Kob and some rare species of bird like night jar. The others include Leopard, Cheetah and Serval Cat. Unfortunately however, antelopes are extinct and report of government’s effort at recalling the endangered species into the park remains haphazard.   

        The Park has about fifty-two species of large animals including elephants making it the single largest elephant concentration in West Africa. There are three-hundred and fifty species of birds, twenty-six species of fish, seven species of reptiles and seven species of amphibians52 and a unique species of small white snail.    

        Average of 100,000 tourists visit the park yearly.  The visitors’ inflow chart in the park’s library shows that from 1985 to 1996 total number of visitors from America, Europe, Oceanic, Asia and African was 20,000 in 1985 and dropped to 8,000 in 1996. This figure shows that Nigeria did not get some things right in terms of protection of rich natural resources of flora and fauna and ethno-historical and archeological attractions peculiar to Yankari National Park thereby unexplainably and avoidably losing huge income from tourism.

Ghashaka-Gumti National Park is the largest of the eight National parks in Nigeria managed by the National Park Service. It covers an area of 6,731 square kilometers in the rolling valleys of the famous Adamawa and Mambilla Mountains of Adamawa and Taraba States.  It is located in the Afro-tropical zone of the southern-eastern highlands of the savannah area of Nigeria. It shares international border with Cameroon to the East, adjacent to Faro National Park in Cameroon.

The park was originally gazetted as Gumti, Gashaka and Serti Game Sanctuaries by the defunct North-East Government in the 1970s. The three sanctuaries were merged and upgraded as a National Park by the Nigeria National Park Decree of 26th August, 1991 which was repealed by this Act.

The objectives of the park are to protect and manage the major catchment’s area of the upper Benue river systems which originated from the park; to promote, preserve, protect and manage the high bio-diversity of species of fauna and flora of the area, some of which are rare, endangered or threatened with extinction; to develop ecotourism, by encouraging the public to use their recreation-time wisely.

A recent Fauna inventory Programme jointly undertaken by the Park and Nigeria Conservation Foundational World Wildlife Fund for Nation revealed that there are over thirty species of large and small mammals, fifty-five species of fish recorded and fifteen of the fish which could not be determined to   species, five of which are new to science not being previously discovered anywhere else in the world53. The common ones being nile perch, clarias, Tilapia, Labeo, Mormyrus, Ployterus etc.

About eight new record of butterfly not surveyed in Nigeria before now have been identified with five species new to science. The park afforded opportunities of watching species of both forest and savannah-dwelling wildlife such as ran antelope, hippopotamus, giant forest hog, golden cat, West African giant eland, chimpanzee, black and white colobus, mona monkey, putty nosed monkey leopards, lions, hunting dogs, mountain reedbucks, hartebeests, water buck, kobs, bush, warthogs, red river hogs, forest hogs, buffaloes, pangolins, porcupines, oribi, red flanked duiker, bustards, guinea fowls and round horn bills. The park also contains bats forest.

The topography of the park is a delight to watch with the highest mountain peak in Nigeria- Chappal Waddi (mountain of death) located in the south east of the park adjoining Nigeria-Cameroom border with a height of about 2,400km above sea level.

The Cross-River National Park (CRNP) is know to be a relatively unspoiled natural forest in Nigeria’s south eastern region spreading over a total of 4,000 square kilometers and cut across the forest belt of the country. It has two non-contiguous divisions-Oban and Okwango. The park was created alongside five others nation wide in 1991 with a view to conserving and preserving representative samples of the bio-physical and cultural attributes of the Cross-River Basin for posterity, research and scientific education and the promotion of public awareness.

The park which is noted for its extensive stock of biological and cultural diversities was classified by the World Conservation Union as a “World Heritage” in the 80’s. recent studies revealed that the park harbours rare species of gorillas and other endangered species.

Old Oyo National Park deriving its name from the notoriety and relics of Oyo-Ile in the history of Yoruba race is a pride of conservation measure.  The Federal Government in recognizing the significance of the area with its wildlife potentials made it a National Park. The park covers a total land area of about 2,512 square kilometers that cut across Oke-Ogun area of the state through the north east into part of Kwara State.

This park is rich in rare and endangered species of animal such as porcupine green monkey, puff adder, mongoose, giant rat, cane rat, African giant cat, pangolin, duiker, oribi, kob, water buck bush buck and host of others. The park in its quest to curb incursions of the poachers, villagers, cattle rearers and other activities inimical to the proper management of National Park; anti-poaching unit of the park was put in place and its efforts paid off recently when it nabbed an eight man group poachers comprising Nigerians and foreigners from neighbouring country of Niger Republic and the Director of the park. Alhaji Saka Oladimeji Abdulsalam and other officials of the park for the first time in the history of the part attempted to put to test the efficacy of the Act when he said that “The poachers would be arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction under the National Park Act”.

Unknown to the business-like Director, his statement has provoked an issue of law on “which of our courts is competent under the National Park Service Act?”  It is pertinent to note that the law does not provide for any particular court to entertain offence committed under the Act.

Section 41 provides that a person who aids, abets, procures or conspires with another to commit an offence specified in this Decree or Regulations made under this Decree is guilty of an offence as if he himself had committed the offence shall be punished accordingly.

1.     A person who is guilty of an offence under section 30 of this Decree, is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both such fine and imprisonment;

2.     A person who is guilty of an offence under section 31 of this Decree is liable on conviction;

(a)            where the offence is that of hunting, wounding, killing or capturing of a mother or a young animal, large mammal or any endangered, protected or prohibited species, to imprisonment for a term of not less than three months but not exceeding five years without the option of a fine;

(b)            where the offence is that specified in paragraph (g), (m), (n), (p) or (y) of that section, to imprisonment for a term of not less than six months but not exceeding ten years without the option of a fine;

(c)             in the case of any other offence, to a fine of not less than N10,000 but not exceeding N50,000 or imprisonment for a term of not less than one year but not exceeding five years or to both such fine and imprisonment;

(d)            Where the offence is committed by a body corporate to a fine of not less than N100,000 but not exceeding N1,000,000.

3.     A person who is guilty of an offence under section 32 of this Decree is liable n conviction to a fine of not less than N5,000 but not exceeding N25,000 or imprisonment for a term of not less than six months but not exceeding five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

4.     A person who is guilty of an offence under section 33 of this Decree is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than N10,000 but not exceeding N50,000or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both such fine and imprisonment.

5.     A person who is guilty of an offence under section 34 of this Decree is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than three months but not exceeding five years without the option of a fine.

6.     A person who is guilty of an offence under section 35 of this Decree is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than N10,000 but not more than N50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

7.     A person who is guilty of an offence under section 36 of this Decree is liable on convention to imprisonment for a term of not less than six months but not exceeding five years without option of a fine.

8.     A person who aids, abets, procures or conspires with another person or attempts to commit, any of the offences under this Decree or regulations made under this Decree, is liable on conviction to the penalty which the person who committed the offence is subject to under this Decree or the regulations.

        Where an offence under this Decree which has been committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of, any Director, Manager, Secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or any person purporting to act in any of those capacities, he, as well as the body corporate, shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

        In a judicial proceeding under this Decree, it shall be lawful for the court before which the proceeding is brought to make an order that any equipment, instrument and any other thing of the like nature used by the offender in committing the offence be forfeited to the National Park.

        Whereby or under this Decree a fine of imprisonment is imposed on a person, the court may order that compensation for the conservation value of a wild plant, wild animal or the ecosystem, where applicable, as stipulated in regulations made under section 52 of this Decree, be paid by the person to the National Park.

        Subject to the provisions of section 160 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979, as amended (which relates to the power of the Attorney-General of the federation to institute, continue or discontinue criminal proceedings against any person in any court of law), any officer of the service may, with the consent of the Attorney-General of the Federation, conduct criminal proceedings in respect of offences under this Decree or regulations made under this.

        In a judicial proceeding for an offence under this Decree or any regulations made under this Decree, the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act or depending on the venue, the Criminal Procedure Code shall with such modifications as the circumstance may require apply in respect of such matter to the same extent as they apply to the trial of offences generally”.

        It is clear that the gravities of the offence and the penalties prescribed thereof serve no useful purpose as a guide to which of our courts of law should entertain an offence under the Act. Reference to Criminal Procedure Act and Criminal Procedure Code in section 41(2) of the Act will only help in terms of law to be applied in trial proceedings as to procedure but not helpful in the determination of the appropriate court before which an offender can be arraigned.

 However, the offence being one criminalised by a Federal Act with the power to institute, continue and discontinue being conferred on the Attorney-General of the Federation, the only interpretation that can be accorded the relevant provisions is that the Federal High Court should assume jurisdiction and entertain criminal matters arising from the application of the Act. In other words, the offences being special in natural under the Act should be tried at the Federal High Court.

        This conclusion finds support in the provisions of section 7(2) and (3) of the Federal High Court Act that provides as follows “The court shall also have and exercise jurisdiction and powers in respect of criminal causes and matters arising out of or connected with any of the matters in respect of which jurisdiction is conferred by subsection (1) of this section.” And (3) “The jurisdiction conferred under subsection (1) of this section in respect of criminal causes and matters shall without prejudice to the generality of that subsection and subject to section 64(3) of this Act include original jurisdiction in respect of offences under the provisions of the Criminal Code Act being offences in relation to which proceedings may be instigated at the instance of the Attorney-General of the Federation”.

The above quoted provisions put it beyond per adventure that the contemplation of provisions of sections 41 and 42 of the National Park Service Act is the Federal High Court.  What is more, Section 20 of the Act confers ownership of wild animals on the Federal Government.

The seemingly problem associated with this is that where the Federal High Court has no presence in a state where the National Park is located and a crime is committed under the Act; how and where will the offender be prosecuted in the circumstances? A satisfactory answer should be statutorily provided having regard to the provisions of section 45 of the Federal High Court Act dealing with venue or places where offence may be tried.  The law does not make provision for alternative but the rule of procedure which has been adopted in many other cases in that a proximate Federal High Court to the place of commission of crime should assume jurisdiction over the matter a sis the case with Imo State and Abia State where the Federal High Court matters that arose in Imo State were taken to Umuahia in Abia State for adjudication by the Federal Court until recently when Imo State division of the Federal High Court was created.

Okomu National Park was gazette in 1921 as wildlife sanctuary of a sustainably managed forest for the supply of timber.  The Okomu Forest Reserve according to Nigerian Conservation Foundation was to be exploited in a fifty years rotational cycle to ensure minimal damage to the forest ecosystem.

With an area of about 1,200 square kilometres, Okomu Reserve constitutes about 19% of the Edo State forest resources and almost 16.6% of the total area of the state but the National Park is on 181 square kilometres which is only about 15% of the 1,200 square kilometres originally covered by the Okomu Forest Reserve, the greater percentage being allocated for the development of plantations such as rubber and oil palm.

Okomu remains the only surviving rain-forest habitat in the South-West Nigeria where animal species such as White throated monkey endemic to Nigeria, chimpanzee, forest elephant, forest buffalo, short snouted crocodile, Sitatunge (antelope) West African dwarf crocodile, bush cow, yellow-backed duiker thrive.

Okomu which represents the lowland rainforest ecosystem that once covered most of South Western Nigeria have presently endangered unique plants but also rich in diverse plant species used for traditional medicine, canoe carving, crafts and others.  The Nigerian Conservation Foundation revealed certain species of the plants which are new to science and a new data base set up for future research on plants in Okomu.

Despite the seemingly sufficient federal legislation, regulations, strategies and policies, the problem of enforcement still remains unsolved because majority of these statutes been tested in the Nigerian courts of Tribunals especially some that are of direct relevance to the protection for the Anima rights, for example, on case has been decided or reported under chapter L. Section 495 and 496 of the Criminal Code dealing with cruelty to Animals.  This shows that the section have not been tested in any court.

Furthermore, Section 456 of the same Code which provides that “Any person who willfully and unlawfully causes, or is concerned in causing, or attempts to cause, any infectious disease to be communicated to or among any animal or animals capable of being stolen, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years “has also not been tested”.

It suffices to say here that the legislation examined under this chapter as guiding the use of resources have not always recognised the need for penalties that commensurate with the market value of  some of these game species. It is also not in consonance with the proliferation of the competition for these animals.  Legislation on animals extraction and utilization is, not effectively implemented or selectively enforced.

        Moreover, it is clear that these federal legislations mainly focused on the resources at the expense of the habitats of these animals.  The list of game reserves reveal that certain important habitats have not been conserved. These include the mangrove and swamp forests; hence, protecting species of animals without protecting their habitats is an exercise in futility because a viable habitat guarantees animals’ survival. It must be noted that the tropical forests which cover only seven percent of the earth’s land surface contain at least ninety percent of the world’s species. Nigeria should provide immediate conservative measures for her natural resources.

        The problem inherent in the dictates of the provision of the National Park Service Act is its silence in the management of game species in and out of the forest and game reserves.  In other words, it is monolithic as it concerns only the National Parks which are just eight in number as against a considerable number of the forest and game reserves.

        Unfortunately, apart from the ineffective provision of Wild Animal laws existing in the statute books of the states of the federation there is no other legislation that has direct bearing on game reserves which essentially fall under the administration or business of the state government.  It should be noted however that the National Parks we have today started as game reserve before being taken over by the Federal Government.


This Act which was commenced on the 28th day of December, 1992 seeks to manage the fish population and forestall destruction of their habitat. The Act provides, for the licensing of fishing craft and the regulation of fishing on the inland waters of Nigeria and for matters connected therewith.

Section 5 restricts the use of fishing gear constructed with net webbing of less than 76 millimeters or a single net or a combination of nets exceeding 500 metres of three millimeters mesh size and above.

Contravention of the provision of this section attracts an offence punishable on conviction to a fine of N500 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both.

Section 6 prohibits unorthodox fishing methods of the use of explosive substances; noxious or poisonous matter or electricity.  Contravention of provision of this section attracts an offence punishable on conviction to a fine of N3,000 or imprisonment for a term of 2 years or to both fine and imprisonment.

Section 7 deals with the declaration of catch and section 8 prohibits export or import of live fish or any other aquatic animal without the permission of the minister offence of noncompliance with section 7 attracts N 500 five or 3 months imprisonment offence of non-compliance with the provisions of section 8 attracts a fine of N25,000 or 5 years imprisonment or both.
The commissioner of state having jurisdiction over the fishing area may declare such area and seasons as closed. Section 9(2) of the Act provides that a person who fishes in a closed area or during a closed season contravenes the law and commit an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N3,000 or 2 years imprisonment or both.


The Law seeks to regulate importation of live fish through the issuance of licence with a view to avoiding the incidence or spread of disease or parasitic states among living fish in waters from which the Minister charged with the responsibility for fish considers that fish may be caught for consumption in Nigeria.

Section 3 of the Act makes non-compliance with the provisions of Act an offence liable on summary conviction with a penalty of N40 for first offender and N200 for second offender or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.

This penalty is ridiculously low and may not serve the purpose of deterrent as the monetary sanctions are not commensurable with the gravity of the offence. 


        This discourse here is to examine the pertinent state laws and local government bye laws aimed at protecting the Animal Rights and enhancing game management particularly in respect of their over exploitation and loss of their natural habitat and, more importantly, to make further explanation on the laws referred to in the preceding heads of this chapter for reason of clarity and fairness.

        There are State Forestry Laws. There laws empower the State Governors to constitute government forest reserves and protected forest. Similar power lies with the Local Government Council on approval of the Governor.  In this connection, any land lying within the area of its jurisdiction may constitute Local Government Council Forest Reserve.  Sections 46 and 49 of the Oyo State Forestry Law54 provide for legislative effort to preserve our forest resources.  Some of the States Forestry Laws do not just prohibit indiscriminate tree felling but also provide for afforestation55.

        Equally important are the afforestation bye laws56 at some Local Government Councils level which seek to encourage tree planting by the people. Nigeria has quite a good number of forestry laws because forestry under the Constitution is a state and not a federal matter.  This has necessitated a vast degree of state initiatives in legislation and policy making.  Some of the state legislation includes the following: Kano State Agriculture and Livestock Development Agency, 1975 and Aba Local Government (Establishment Instrument etc) 1977 which have positive implication for soil (land) resources conservation through the preservation of the natural vegetation. The Lagos State Environmental Pollution Control Edict, 1989 is basically and Edict to provide for the control of pollution and protection of the environment from abuse and Section 25(1) provides for the punishment of a fine not exceeding one thousand naira on conviction for the violation of the express prohibitions.

        The Imo State Land and Water Resources Conservation (Erosion Prevention) Edict 1986 deals with factors causing soil degradation, inappropriate farming practices and bush burning. It is the first law of its kind in the country and worthy of emulation by other states.  This is important to Animal rights and game management because soil erosion as a result of deforestation, bush burning etc are clear abuse of Animal right to their natural habitat against human encroachment. This 1986 Edict incorporated two federal enactments but one will be discussed for the purpose of this work and that is Quarries Decree57. Section 8(3) of the Decree prohibits a lessee or licencee from cutting or taking any protected tree except with the consent of the proper Forestry Officer and on payment of the fees and royalties prescribed under the Forestry Act, or where appropriate any correspondent law of a State. The Edict provides penalties for contravention ranging from a fine of N500.00 or six months imprisonment for a first offence to N1, 000.00 or twelve months imprisonment for any subsequent offence, and additional fine of N50.00 for any day the offence persists.

        Abia State Environmental Protection Agency Edict, 1994 is also relevant.  Section 21 of the Edict generally addresses the protection of the state’s fragile ecology, management of land degradation and watershed rehabilitation. Subsection (1) provides for the designation of some areas as green belt. All such areas must be published in the State Gazette and pasted in conspicuous places in the areas concerned to aid easy identification. Section 21 (8) (a) and (b) provided that any person who contravenes, attempts to contravene or aids or abets or counsels or procures any other person to contravene these general provisions of the section dealing with the protection of the state’s fragile ecology, management of land degradation and watershed rehabilitation shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N10, 000.00 or to imprisonment for a term of five years or both. Where the offender is a body corporate, organisation or company, it shall be liable to pay a fine not exceeding N500, 00.00.

As rightly observed, habitat disruption through deforestation is not the only menace to biodiversity today, over-harvesting, ubiquitous chemical pollution, competition from introduced species and climate change also wreak serious havoc.  Many species not in imminent danger of extinction are nonetheless suffering from depleted population and declining immunity which make them vulnerable to disease, in-breeding, hunting and other environmental vices that threaten their sustenance.

There are some state laws and local government bye-laws protecting the rights of animals and useful for good game management.  The Lagos State Environmental Pollution Control Edict58 is again relevant. Section 15(1) of the Edict prohibits the discharge into the air of any inadequately filtered and purified gaseous waste containing substances injurious to life and property and subsection (2) provides that persons on the Lagos metropolis must not burn any type of refuse, bush, weed, grass, tyres, and cables without obtaining a written permission from the State Ministry of Environment.

The Abia State Environmental Protection Agency Edict59 establishes a state water quality effluent limitations standard. Section 17(1) mandates the Agency to set an interim goal to make all state water safe for marine resources (e.g. fish propagation, wildlife and human beings; and to establish a state effluent water standard, non compliance with which attracts a fine not exceeding N500,00060 Section 17(3) provides that all rural and urban towns within each Local Government Council in Abia must use secondary sewage treatment and all industries must use the practicable technology (BPT) for treatment of all effluents.

This Edict also incorporated the idea of preserving environmental aesthetics which was the outcome of the National Policy on the Environment, 1989 in promoting good quality of life Section 20(2) of the Edict provides that the Agency shall project that some land should not be used or developed in order to preserve their beauty and ecological health as well as the cultural, historical, religious and archeological treasures thereon.

There has been serious attempt by many state governments to regulate the size of fishing nets used by fishermen. This is as a result of the concern that certain types of fishing nets common among the fishermen are anti-conservation as they deplete both mature and the very little fishes thereby making propagation almost impossible.

Some relevant laws are the Ogun State Fishing (prohibition of certain modes of fishing) Edict 1986. The Edict prohibits the use of fishing nets with less than 4-5 centimeters for fishing purpose in any stream, lake or river in the state.  The use of drag nets popularly called “Awo nets” is forbidden. The Edict also prohibits the use of draw nets exceeding 365.8 metres lengthwise or having a mesh of less than 7.6 centimeters in the wing and 5.1 centimetres in the lag when same measured across a hold with the net stretched.  This same Edict prohibits the use of explosives, poison or electrical devices in the state.

The Lagos State Environmental Pollution Control Edict, 1989 has prohibited the use of Gamalin 20 or any herbicide or insecticide or other chemicals to kill or whatever purpose in river, lakes, or streams within the state without first obtaining written approval of the ministry of the Environmental and physical planning.  The penalty for chemical fishing under the Edict is a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand naira and five hundred thousand naira for a corporation or any unincorporated body offender.

Most Local Governments in Imo State by virtue of the Imo State Local Government Edict, 1976 have enabling legal instruments that prohibit, restrict or regulate the capture, killing or sale of fish of the kind specified in the bye-laws, for example the Arochukwu Ohafia Local Government (Establishment) Instrument, 1997.

On environmental sanitation which is synonymous with the public health and which under the 1999 Constitution has remained largely a state legislative duty. Public Health laws regulate abatement of nuisance (of a wide range) with proper sanitary maintenance of all places where animals are kept. The Public Health laws of the erstwhile regional government continued to operate in the new states through various agencies of the States and Local Governments in both urban and rural areas for the regulation of environmental and personal hygiene.

This Public Health laws metamorphosed through the era of War Against Indiscipline (WAI) in mid 1980s to the new States Environmental Sanitation Edict. Some of the Edict are as follows: Bauchi State Environmental Sanitation Edict 1984 Bendel (Now Edo and Delta State) Edict 1986; Oyo State (applicable in Osun before the enactment of the Osun State Laws) Edict 1986; Sokoto State (applicable in Zamfara) Public Health (consolidation) Edict, 1985; Gongola State Urban Planning and Development Authority Edict 1986; Borno Edict 1986; Kaduna State 1984; Buachi State Environmental Task Force and committee Edict, 1988; the Lagos State Environmental Pollution Control Edict, 1989.

The new State Edicts prohibit every conceivable unsanitary condition or activity, by regulating all such human or industrial activities which are prospective causes of environmental pollution in the society and the attendant human and animal health hazards.  These new states Environmental Sanitation Edicts are the improvements on the previous Public Health Laws but no improvement has been made on animal health hazards.

It may be stated here that notwithstanding the above discussed legislation, several states and local governments in the rainforest belt neither proposed nor gazetted effective game laws, bye-laws and game reserves. The Forest resource development and management is being actively maintained due to the economic benefit coming from timber, and other economic trees.  Wildlife conservation receives next to no attention.  Even, their forests management is questionable because the systems of granting logging licence do not conform to the rights of animals; the natural environment and the demands of game management. More often than not, logger neglect conditions attached to concessions or even fell without permits.

The tradition and legal precedent in Nigeria have never guaranteed that the National Parks can be kept to their dedicated mission. However, vigilant adherence to the provisions would make a great difference of radical departure from the past gory tales.

The worry is that it is theoretically possible to create a new National Park anywhere within the federal domain today, but some areas rich in mineral deposits, harvestable timbers, dam sites or grazing land cannot accommodate National Park in the face of opposition from the beneficiaries of such resources.

In view of the foregoing, the long-established Parks like Kainji Lake and Yankari National Parks are never completely immune from the forays of minerals, water and recreational interests.  The constituted agencies are sometimes ill-equipped to repel invaders and occasionally have to seek the assistance of non-governmental organisation to protect the public scenic heritage.  The forefront of the defending forces are the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Important Birds Area Project (IBA), Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC), The Drill Ranch, Environment Rights Action (ERA), Savannah Conservation Board (SCB), Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), and others.


“Once, the sky used to be black with ducks, everywhere you looked, there appeared to be no end to their numbers.  What a shame to see them go”*

The above quotation depicts the discrepancies between the legislation and the state of nature which has been attributed to a number of problems ranging from poor information, lack of public support, and lack of understanding of the inherent values of wildlife to the development of human and nation building.

Many sporadic efforts were made in recent years by the non-governmental organisations and multinational companies in the country. Many of them existed in one form or another after the Nigerian Independence.  Through them, wildlife has earned a temporary respite from excessive human interference but whether or not this respite will be permanent and more areas set aside for wildlife as done in the case of Lekki Conservation Centre by Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) depends largely on the appreciation of the values and assets of wildlife by the country’s leadership as well as the financial assistance which may be received from the International organisations and agencies.

Some brief assessment of efforts of these non-governmental organizations and companies are discussed seriatim.


        This is a non-governmental organisation, which promotes conservation of Nigeria’s biodiversity and sustainable use of nature in all its forms. It was established in 1982 and has its headquarters at Lekki Conservation Centre located at km 19 on Lagos-Epe Express Way, Lekki Peninsula, it covers 78 hectares of swamp forest and grassland with a small portion of coastal vegetation.

        The organisation has in no small measure complemented the efforts of FEPA and other non-governmental organisations right from its inception. Its works mainly are:

a.     contribution to prioritisation within the conservation programmes of the various participating organizations and agencies;
b.     providing a mechanism through which Nigeria can meet some of the obligations of signatories to the Biodiversity Convention and other related conventions;
c.      Paving a good way for presenting and promoting conservation priorities to decision makers in government, donors and conservationists.

For example, NCF was in the forefront of the crusade against the Federal Government plan to host the Commonwealth Heads of Governments in a retreat at the Yankari National Park.  Preparatory to the summit, the government intended constructing additional buildings and infrastructure which NCF considered, would have negative impact on the natural setting of the park apart from the fact that such summit would include an exclusive retreat where dignitaries would interact more effectively away from prying eyes.

        The manager of the NCF Mr. Paddy Ezeala expressed his worry over the impact and consequences of the planned rehabilitation on the eco-system of the Yankari National Park and creates an urban centre in the game reserves.  He referred to the fact that the U.S Senate stopped a bid by President George Bush to mine a game reserve because they prefer to preserve and protect the reserve61.

Another contribution worthy of mention is the institution of court case against the gruesome murder of Tundethe Sitatunga antelope (an endangered animal named under Schedule 1 of the Appendix of Endangered Species Act) and also closely monitored the proceedings at the court, with a view to seeing that the offender was brought to book to deter further killings of endangered species in the country.

Furthermore, the NCF apart from preserving the remains of Tunde (head and legs) in the Exhibition Hall at the centre for posterity, it has also initiated moves to acquire a new pair of Sitatunga (male and female) to replace Tunde” and reproduce to ensure the continued existence of the rare animal.

Perhaps the major achievement of NCF is the establishment of Lekki Conservation Centre where some rare species of animals such as crocodile, tortoise, turtle, moan monkeys, water bucks, assorted birds and other ungulates are permanently preserved and bred for public interest and use of the present and future generations.

NCF has also signed an agreement with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and Wetlands International (WI) to co-operate, for the purpose of achieving the long-term conservation of the Niger River ecosystems.

This pact brought about the “Niger Basin Initiative” – (NBI) as a way of conserving the Basin’s aquatic biodiversity.  It will provide the necessary tools for better management of the ecosystems that define the Niger River Basin which sustains livelihoods of millions of people along its bank and provides habitat for threatened biodiversity.

It was the NCF effort that led to the procurement of 112 square kilometers of the Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary in Edo State. It was first gazetted in 1912 as sustainable managed forest and in 1985 as wildlife sanctuary and elevated to the status of National Park by virtue of National Park Service Act, 1999.

The Hadeija-Nguru wetlands which normally flooded Jamare-Komadongon-Yobe Rivers serve as wintering grounds for migrant pale arctic birds from Europe and other parts of the world. It also has a touch of NCF activities when it embarked on a major drive of making the area the first RAMSAR site in Nigeria albeit, government has only shown a minimal interest.


The IBA Programme is an on-going ornithological undertaking whose main objective is to identify areas of remarkable significance for conserving birds and other forms of biodiversity in perpetuity.

The Nigerian IBA project is a member of African IBA, which also serves as part of the larger global Programme. It is a joint exercise of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Bid (RSPB) in collaboration with three Federal Government agencies namely: the Federal Department of Forestry (FDF), the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) and the Nigerian National Park Service (NNPS).

At present, the project has set up an office in Zaria equipped with trained field personnel who will carry out the biological survey, with the co-operation of state ministries of agriculture and natural resources.  The project has drawn up a list of potential survey sites that will be visited by IBA team.

Through its efforts, it was revealed that Malimbus ibadanesis, a species of birds discovered in large number in 1958 and found only in the Ibadan-Ife area of the country is gradually becoming extinct as it is now restricted to the vicinities of the University of Ibadan, IITA, the Forestry Reserve Area of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University Campus, Ile-Ife. Specie discovered to have been endangered is the Anambra waxbill found in the Niger Delta.

Through the IBA project it has been profitably assimilated that complete elimination is not the solution to the devastating effect of birds like weaver, quilter and quelea birds’ alternative approach of identifying and planning sites where these birds can stay to reduce their impact on crops should be fashioned out. It was revealed that most of the area where they are destroying crops, used to have wild grasses which they feed on but now, rice and other crops have taken over leaving the birds with nothing to feed on. For example, the quelea birds which is part of the ecosystem of Jigawa, Yobe and Borno states had its population depending on crop.

This was facilitated by the existence of an equally mysterious grass called Typha or elephant grass which  attracted the birds due to its suitability for both roosting and breeding space makes their prevention almost impossible particularly in the face of famine attributable to the colossal destruction of millet, sorghum and rice as the affected areas have been experiencing or recording losses since 1993 and that between 1993 and 1995 about 120,000 tons of millet, 90,000 tons of sorghum, between 8,000-10,000 tons of rice were lost to these quelea birds.

In the face of this opposition, solutions are offered; even it was clearly impressed on the concerned government, the advantages attributable to the existence of quelea bird and its habitat as follows:

a.    This Typha grass which naturally breeds birds also constitutes a palpable impediment to large scale fish farming of Hadejia-Jamaare River down to Lake Chad. What a natural conservation! The growth of this grass which has an adverse effect on the fish itself or its aquatic life also leaves no room for the fishermen to cast their nets into the river.  Alternative to netting, traditional method of fish farming which accounts for only negligible proportion of fish is employed.
b.    The scourge of quelea bird is seen as a natural disaster which will take care of itself as it had happened in the past where cases of flood, locust, plant diseases outbreak, have all come and gone in a natural way despite various human controls over them.
c.     That attention should be shifted to other important crops life pepper, tomatoes and other crops not favoured by the scourge of quelea birds.
d.    The sum of N20, 350,000 committed by the Jigawa government for the permanent control of the birds could be diverted to the provision of other social basic amenities like potable water, electricity, good roads and better educational system.  It was reported that the affected Kirikassama community coughed out N250, 000 on this eradication project without success so also their Guri counterpart spent over N100,000 within 5 weeks in a similar effort.  However, it was estimated as of 1997 that the state would need about N150 million to effectively combat the scourge.

Still on quella birds, a recent development in Yobe State bears sad testimony of the legislative and executive arms of government’s insensitivity to the right of the birds under reference and the dictates of the 1999 Constitution.  The Yobe House of Assembly on the 10th day of September, 2007 asked the executive to begin aerial chemical spray against quella birds thought to be threatening the year’s expected bumper harvest.  The motion for that unwarranted move for the destruction of the birds was moved by one Musa Tela and Adamu Dogo.  In the same vein, the speaker-Usman Adamu appealed to the executive to destroy the birds!


It is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation involved in environmental protection of the extensive grassland BIOME of African South of the Sahara that supports a wide range of plants (mainly herbs and shrubs) and whose animal population includes mainly large herbivores and associated predators.  The Savannah may be in part a Biome- A major ecological community of organisms, occupying a large area (e.g Tropical rain forest).

Savannah forms about 80% land area of the country and deserves special attention. The nation’s Savannah area contained lots of plants from which modern medicine and drugs had developed, adding that there are also lots of animals important to the country’s socio-economic and cultural development.

The organisation saw the need to protect the Savannah ecological zone so as to preserve these important flora and fauna species as a result of the nation’s status of Savannah being under serious threat and diminished rapidly due to exploitation and commercial poaching.

Savannah Conservation has been working in partnership with government toward raising awareness among rural communities on the dangers of destroying the savannah forest areas of the country.

The organisation had been in existence since 1989 and has recently launched an appeal fund for its awareness campaign in the rural areas.  Having regard to the difficulty in embarking on the protection of all the Savannah areas at a go, the organisation had earmarked three project areas to serve as models.  These projects are Yankari in Bauchi, Kamuku Game Reserve in Kaduna State and Birnin Gwari support zone also in Kaduna State.

It has sep up a tool bank from which the communities could borrow implements for their economic activities and construction of social infrastructure like community dispensaries and schools.


There is only one Drill Rehabilitation and Breeding centre founded by two Americans-Peter Jenkins and Liza Gadsby.  The centre is Africa’s first and only project dedicated to captive breeding of endangered primates. It is committed to recovering existing capture drills in Calabar region who where orphans as a result of their nursing mothers’ death from poachers for bush meat. The Drills Home is located in Boki Local Government area of Cross-River State.

The home started with five drills in 1991 but now have over sixty-seven monkeys in two sites in the state. One of the breeding centres in located in Buanchor’s Drill Ranch in Afi Mountain and Boki Local Government area which harbours more than thirty-nine drills.

Reports revealed that the number represents more than 60% of all known captive drills in the world which apart from Cross-River could also be found in South East Cameroon and Bioko Island (Malabo) in Equatorial Guinea.  Sixteen chimpanzees could also be found at Pandrillus project in Cross-River.  The new captive monkeys are normally made to undergo quarantine in Calabar before being moved to their forested habitat at Buanchor where the monkeys are fed at least five times daily.

This organisation has been very instrumental in the conservation and management of game species particularly the endangered ones and not primates alone.  For example, the drills house was on assistance when the two drill monkeys smuggled out of Nigeria were intercepted and flown back into the country through the aid of Lufthansa German Airline and were sent to the centre for care and management.

The centre has also served as foster home to the murdered “Tunde” Sitatunga antelope as one of the founders of the centre Liza Gadsby reared Tunde since 1995 until February 2002 when it was returned to the ‘Nature’s Trait’  of the Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) in Lagos by Peter Jenkins, Liza’s partner and husband. Tunde was rescued after the death of his mother by gun shot four weeks after his birth and he was hand raised with feeding bottle for almost a year.

To further buttress the centre’s success in the management of game it was reported64 that on June 13, 2002, the Drill Ranch on Afi Mountain, a female drill named Kikelomo  gave birth to twins. This development is now a history being the first time the drills ever had twins in captivity.


       ERA is a non-governmental organisation with the objective of curbing the scourge of wildlife smuggling. The organisation has connection with London-based General Animal Welfare and Kindness Club (KB) as well as the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

    It was the organisation’s efforts on the prevention of illegal trade and trafficking in endangered species that led to the president of (WSPA) to cause a letter in 1997 to be written to the former Head of State late General Sanni Abacha alerting him of the booming trade in endangered animals and other subsequent protect letters with the assistance of WSPA for the Region located in Kano City.

    The organisation was most instrumental in the arrest of one Mallam Baita Sani Awal Garma of Kano State on September 3, 1997 at the Buissa checkpoint in Buissa checkpoint in Buissa Local Government of Taraba State for being in possession of the chimpanzee named Vicki” and three other tantalus monkeys without legal documents.  The offender upon prosecution was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment with an option of fine of N2,000 which he paid and forfeited the chimpanzee to the state government and handed over to one Kyado who had long been keeping animals in the school’s pen and also had an aviary where many birds believed to be migratory species from other counties were kept.


This society was founded in 1947 by late Rev. Canon Ade Oduwole as a Nigerian branch of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. NSPCA naturally reacts to all types of cruelty to pets and animals ranging from ram-fights to hanging poultry upside down.  The Society has its office in No 11, Gray Street, Yaba, Lagos a three-room bungalow erected in 1959 and opened with a commemorative plaque by the last Governor-General of Nigeria, Sir James Roberts and is run by four officers, namely, the President, Treasurer, Secretary and Chief Inspector.  The society was the first overseas branch in Africa an d has, since then, remained the only Animal rights protection organisation in Nigeria. It also has twelve kennels attacked to one end of the building.

In the colonial era, the society’s efforts yielded positive results as cruelty to animals and bestiality were made punishable offences and same incorporated into the Criminal Code. Rabies, poorly groomed and starved pets were almost non-existent as the pet owners were reportedly to be well behaved.

Unfortunately, what remains of the society is a caricature of its old self as the society’s secretariat is bereft of working materials and patronage from personalities, government and associations as it was the case in the past when the Federal Government and Lagos State Government were giving subvention to the society complemented by donations from the general public, membership dues and general support from the World Society For the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and few individuals like Sir John Arthur Richards (Lord Milverton), Sir John Macpherson, Most Rev. Gordon Vinning late Archbishop of the province of West Africa and a host of others.  Fund is the major problem of the society as the requisite extensive filed work cannot be carried out, drugs and equipment for their preservation need to be procured whilst the old office equipment such as surgical tools and ambulance need prompt replacement.



        Nigeria LNG is a joint venture company owned by (NNPC) Shell Gas BV (Shell), Cleage limited (Elf) and Agip International BV (Agip).  The company has developed a wildlife reserve centre by its operations based on Bonny Island where the company has adopted a rare pigmy hippopotamus found within 500 metres of its residential estate65.

        The pigmy hippopotamus, an endangered species has been named “Biggie Bello by ardent fans and nature watchers who keep vigil to catch a glimpse of its frequent visits to a national pond mid-way between the Nigeria LNG limited residential estate and a five kilometer stretch of the white sand Bonny Beach.

        Upon the initiative, the Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture initial endorsements include:

a.     approving the posting of signs to cordon off the sea;
b.     the company has to encourage its staff to re-introduce any straying animal to the forest;
c.      purchase such animals, birds or reptiles from the indigenous community under its policy of “no keeping of pets

The posting of signs prevent removal of trees and hunting and tampering with general flora and fauna.

On environmental protection, the company has completed its initial construction phase of an LNG plant in Bonny which facility is intended to use at least 50% of associated gas currently being flared in Nigeria. The first three trains have been completed with exports to Europe under long term gas sales purchase agreement. In March 2002, shareholders of the NLNG sealed the final investment decision (FID) project.  The completion of the two additional trains will shore up the overall production capacity of NLNG to 17 million tons of condensate and 2.3 million tons yearly capacity of LPG.

        In this regard other companies have followed suit.  They include NNPC/Chevrons Gas Project, West African Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP), Exxon Mobil, Agip/Shell’s Independent Power Projects (IPPs) etc.66

        This foundation is very instrumental to the preservation conservation and management of the country’s wildlife as the nation’s natural resources particularly in terms of financial assistance.

        Still on the case of Tunde” the murdered antelope, the Foundation facilitated the transfer of Tunde from the Drills Home in Cross-River to Lagos in February, 2002 through its provision of finance for the transportation and delivery of Tunde to Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos.

        The foundation also contributed immensely to the elevation of Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary to National Park through its contribution to the development, growth and sustenance of same.

        The retention of Okomu area as sanctuary and its subsequent development as a protected enclave through the NCF up to its subsequent adoption as a National Park was largely due to the unqualifiedly efforts and aspirations of the Foundation.


This Company has made efforts at protecting the Nigerian environment and saving some endangered species from extinction in Nigeria. The NBC organized educational programmes at the conservation foundation to pay attention to young Nigerians on the need to develop a keen environmental consciousness.

NBC provides fund for the maintenance of Okomu Forest Reserve Project which later metamorphosed into part of Okomu National Park in order to protect the area and also provide a safe haven for the white throated monkey which has been classified as one of the world’s most endangered species.

NBC sponsors the Art and Essay Competition Association with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation and also calls on other multinationals and large corporate organisations to show more concern for the environment rather than leaving it to government and only a few companies.

It is the idea of NBC that the peace and tranquility found in these natural habitats clearly demonstrate that nature is meant to be enjoyed.  If we lose all our forest areas to cultivation and development, mankind would have done itself a great disservice.


This company has also made positive contribution to the conservation of Nigeria’s diverse flora and fauna.  In the early 2007, the company gave Nigerian conservation foundation one million dollar to manage Gilli-Gilli and Urhonigbe forest reserves in Edo State against illegal exploitation of resources which include wild animals. The Company has, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, prepared Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for Gilli-Gilli and Urhonigbe Forest reserves which reserves are already designated protected areas by world Conservation Union.


This company sponsors conservation related programmes on air through Nigeria Television Authority (NTA2).  The Programme is poised to encourage the youths educationally by giving educational tips on the behavioural traits of different species of animals and their interdependence with the human race.

Such insight will educate the youth on the importance of conservation being drummed into the public ears by the NCF.


This Oil Company also made contribution to the preservation and conservation of nation’s renewable resources, that is, game species. It built a magnificent chronical shape at Lekki Conservation Centre on behalf of NCF. The building serves as a resource centre for annual general meetings, public lectures and conferences.  There are also offices and a standard library for environmental and conservation education.

Recently, the company undertook to finance the N40 million for the reconstruction of the trial at Lekki Conservation centre in Lagos which construction is being undertaken by the NCF*.


* New York Court of Appeal in the case of Phelps V Racey(1975) N’Y.10.
1.             Yoruba Folklore and Sayings
2.             Yankari National Park Library
3.             Tell Magazine, September 22, 1997.
4.             Yoruba Folklores and Sayings
5.             (1910)2 NLR 1 at 2
6.             (1961) All N.L.R. 245 at 256
7.             Cap 221 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and Lagos 1958
8.             Evaluation of Nigerian Situation in 1953 at the Conventions according to the requirement of the 1933 London Convention
8a    Sections 45 and 46 of the Kenyan Wild Animal Preservation Ordinance 1951
9.             Section 16 of the Ordinance
10.        Cap 72, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and Lagos 1958
11.        Cap. 18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990
12.        Cap 54, Laws of Nigeria 1958
13.        Section 10(1) making provision for fifty pounds on conviction or 6 months imprisonment or forfeiture.
14.        No. 3 of 1970 Western Region Law
15.        Wildlife Bulleting of Nigeria No. 1 Vol. 1 1973
16.        The schedule (paragraph 55) provides for the prohibited, specially protected and protected animals named in the schedule.
17.        The 1968 definition given by the African convention for the conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
18.        Cap. 464. 1990 Now cap v3 Laws of the Federation 2004
19.        Pharmacy Act 1964
20.        (1890) 24 Q.B. 357
21.        (1880) 11 R.M.S.W. 129
21a      Nigerian Tribune, Tuesday 22 February 2011
21b.  Encyclopaedia of health and Education for the family,Volume1    page  343 published 2000.             
22.        (1949) W.N 93
23.        (1915) I CH. 113
24.        Cap 125 Laws of the Western Region Nigeria 1959
25.        A female who made will before her death
26.        (1857) 1 De-G8-72
27.        (1866) L.R1 Exch 265, affirmedin (1868) L.R. 3H.L 330
28.        (1975) 11 S.C 155
29.        Section 7 Animal Act 1971
30.        (1957) 2 Q.B.1
31.        (1965) 2 All N.L.R. 58
32.        No. 3 of 1970 Western Region Law
33.        Cap 108 Laws of Federation 1990 now Cap E9 Laws of the Federation 2004
34.        Guardian Newspaper, Monday August 5, 2002 pages 41 and 49
35.        This day, Tuesday, September 17, 2002 age 46
36.        Guardian on Saturday, May 8, 1999 page 16
37.        Cap 77 Laws of Federation 1990 retained in the 2004 Laws as Cap C38 Laws of the Federation 2004
38.        Cap 350 Laws of Federation 1990 now cap 10 Laws of the Federation 2004
39.        Cap 33 Laws of Federation 1990 now Cap B6 Laws of the Federation 2004
40.        Cap 337 Laws of Federation 1990 now Cap 06 Laws of the Federation 2004
41.        Cap 404 Laws of Federation 1990 now Cap S4 Laws of the Federation 2004
42.        Cap 396 Ibid 1990 now Cap R9 Laws of the Federation 2004
43.        Ibid
44.        The Comet, Tuesday, May 21, 2002, page 27
45.        Cap. 26 LFN 1990
46.        President Olusegun Obasanjo (Second term)
47.        Decree No. 59 of 1992 Now Cap F10, Laws of the Federation 2004
48.        Decree No. 86, 1992 Now Cap E12, Laws of the Federation 2004
49.        The Guardian, Monday, May 19, 1997
50.        Cap 18 Laws of Federation 1990 now Cap A17 Laws of the Federation 2004
51.        Quarries Decree No. 26 of 1969
52.        Decree No. 46 of 1999 - now    Cap N65 Laws of the Federation 2004
53.        Ibid
54.        The Guardian, Monday June 3, 2002
55.        Nigerian Tribune, Wednesday, 14th January, 1998
56.        Cap 40 Laws of Oyo State 1978
57.        Imo State Tree planting Edict 1985
58.        Iseyin (Control and collection of Revenue from private Forest Estates Bye Law 1984
59.        1969 Decree No 26
60.        Ibid
61.        Ibid
62.        Section 17(2) of the Edict
63.        Who owns the wildlife, James A. Tober
64.        The Guardian, Monday June 3, 2002 pages 31 and 49
65.        The Punch, Wednesday July 10, 2002 page 26
66.        The Nation, Tuesday, September 11, 2007
67.        The Guardian on Saturday, May 8, 1999
68.        The Guardian, Monday September  14 1998 pages 37
69.        The Comet, Tuesday May 21, 20
70. Guardian,Monday, Oct. 1st, 2007                                                                                  


  1. Enter your comment...very educative. could you please do an article on the legislative involvement in the establishment of game reserves in Nigeria?

  2. Really Appreciate your gesture on this animals, Sir, If I may asked what is the Size of your farm that allows u to ave such big and amazing Animal Flocks.

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