Akpan Etukudo Asare
War against human and wildlife trafficking in Nigeria received a big boost on Wednesday when no fewer than 30 attorneys general from the United States of America, European countries and other international experts brainstormed on how to appropriately respond.
They converged in Calabar Nigeria under the Conference of Western Attorneys General of United States to agree on a position on rampant human trafficking and wildlife across Africa and parts of the world.
The one day conference was in collaboration with Africa Alliance Partnership where they engaged Nigerian counterparts on ways of assisting them tackle the twin evil.
The event had a theme “Investigation and Prosecution of Transnational Crimes- Wildlife Trafficking” where key speakers noted that there was the need to have joint responses to transnational crimes by establishing and building cooperative relationships.
Mr. Markus Green who spoke on behalf of the sponsors, Cross River ministry of justice and SWAG said that the two crimes were of global dimension and call for concerted effort to combat them. He said given the trans-border nature of wildlife and human trafficking, child pornography, drugs, firearms, among others, no single country could address the challenge of the global crime alone.
“Primarily, what we are doing is to encourage the rule of law. We deal with a range of topics including human trafficking, wildlife trafficking and some of the general administration of the rule of law practices.
“Like anything new, the initial reception for the training was met with scepticism in Nigeria. But the idea is that we all belong to a global village and so we talk about the global social justice system. Whatever impacts United States also impacts Nigeria, and the rest of Africa.”
Host Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Cross River State, Mr. Joe Abang, said, “Attorney Generals from the United States are in Cross River State as a result of their passion for conservation of wildlife and biodiversity general which has caught the attention of the international community. We are host to one of the largest national parks which houses chimpanzees, monkeys and other important species to humanity.
“These western attorney generals in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Justice, state ministries of justice and body of attorney generals in Nigeria chose Calabar as a biodiversity hotspot to deliberate on the experiences they have had in the US, Mexico and other countries to deliberate on the way of preserving these endangered species.
Amongst dignitaries that attended the event from the state were Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Michael Edem, representative from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Departments of Public Prosecution, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Police, the National Park, among others.