The Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, Barrister Erastus Awortu may have laid the foundation for an end to illegal poaching and destruction of wildlife in the area. The chairman, it would be recalled has sponsored a bye law for Andoni forest conservation.
It would also be recalled that within the last three months, elephants have been seen along the Ikuru Town axis of the Andoni mainland.
The Andoni mainland stretches from Ibot Okpon Obolo to OYorokoto. Major communities in the mainland are Ngo, Ikuru Town, Ekede, Okorobo ile, Unyengala, Egwede, Agana, Agwut Obolo Isiama, Ilotombi, Anyamboko, Asuk Oyet, Asuk Ama, Muma OYorokoto and several other Communities.
The Andoni mainland is also home to a variety of wildlife species. Prominent among which are, the elephant, python, wild pigs, antelope, monkey of various species and a host of other wildlife.
Seeing the dangers faced by these animals as a result of urbanization and activities of illegal poachers, the United Nations Development Programm (UNDP) under it Niger Delta biodiversity Conservation programm submitted a draft bye law to Andoni Local Government Council in 2018 for consideration.
A copy of the draft obtained by this Reporter reads “Andoni Local Government Wildlife species protection Bye law: The protection of Endangered Flora and Fauna Bye law 2019.”
According to the UNDP “the bye law is to provide for the conservation and management of Andoni Local Government Wildlife and the protection of some of her endangered species due to over exploitation, habitat change or loss as required under the National Wildlife species protection Amendment Act 2015.
“The convention on International trade in Endangered species of wildlife Fauna and Flora.
“The convention on migratory species of wild animals and her daughter Agreement and protocols and the convention on Biological Diversity to which Nigeria is a signatory.”
Unfortunately the last administration in the area did not see the UNDP effort as very important.
The draft was therefore consigned to the dust bin. How ever the recent sighting of wild animals in the mainland has ignited another call for a legislative process to save these Endangered species in the Andoni mainland.
As earlier noted two elephants have been sighted within the last three months in the area. Similarly some marine organisms are being killed by fishermen in Andoni. The case of a large Dolphin caught at OYorokoto which went viral ignited protest across the globe.