Home Community Insights Nigeria’s NDLEA, will burning it solve the problem?

Nigeria’s NDLEA, will burning it solve the problem?

Nigeria’s NDLEA, will burning it solve the problem?

I was in the city of Nairobi, Kenya last month for a vacation and I visited the Nairobi National Park, a popular wildlife safari park where they conserve different species of wild animals.

My tour guild was thoughtful enough to lead me to the historical ground where the Kenyan government burnt over 105 tons of Ivory in April 2016 located somewhere inside the park 

Deep dive into the famous Kenya ivory burning history of 1989 and 2016: 

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Due to its medical, ornamental, and economic value, the Asians and Europeans started buying elephant tusks in large quantities. There was a high demand for elephant tusks/ ivory around the world and those in need of it could pay any amount to lay their hands on it. 

Elephant tusk became a black diamond in Kenya and other neighboring East African countries where elephants are found. So hunters and poachers went gaga, hunting for elephants to get their tusks but an elephant must die before its tusks can be harvested. This led to a drastic reduction and massive death of elephants in Africa. 

Scouting for tusks is solely responsible for a significant decrease in the population of elephants in several parts of Africa, especially in East Africa. Between 1979 and 1989, the African elephant population decreased astronomically from 1.3 million to 600,000. This led to the first worldwide known ivory burning in 1989 in Kenya which motivated other countries to join in the protest against the harvesting of elephant tusks in their countries. 

After the 1989 burning of the elephant tusks, the harvesting of tusks dwindled, up until the early 2000s. The poachers and hunters got back fully at it and started killing elephants again and other wild lives to harvest their horns and tusks. 

As of 2014, according to a report by the  Wildlife Conservation Society, an estimated number of 96 African elephants are poached and killed every day to harvest their tusks. 

This became so terrible again, worse than the 1970s and 80s menace that the Kenyan government in conjunction with some NGOs working for the conservation and preservation of the wild lives had to take a drastic measure again to put a final end to elephant poaching. 

In April 2016, the Kenyan government gathered the tusks amounting to 105 tons confiscated from poachers and hipped it in one location and called both local and international media to witness it and stream the event live, and they set it all ablaze, tusks valued to worth millions of dollars on fire. It was a historical event. 

This burning and destruction of ivory as a technique employed by the Kenyan government and other conservation groups to end the illegal poaching of elephants to harvest their tusks and to suppress the illegal trading/exportation of ivory has so far worked as Kenya through it has recorded a huge success in protection and preservation of its wildlife since then till this day. 

Bringing this back home:
The NDLEA and by extension, the Nigerian government have come under public scrutiny and strong criticism for the act of burning cocaine seized from smugglers valued to have worth N194b the other day. Truth be told that it does not make economic sense to have it burnt, especially now that Nigeria is in a deep financial and economic crisis, but this goes to show the government’s strict policy against peddling and smuggling illicit drugs into the country.

Kenya adopted the same method in stopping elephant tusks harvesting and ivory trade and it worked for them, hence this method I am sure will work in Nigeria as well in eradicating the smuggling of illicit drugs into the country.

Let’s assume that the Nigerian government decided to sell those drugs in order to channel its proceeds into solving some financial problems, this will definitely cause a huge calamity as it will lead to the spreading of cocaine in every street and city in Nigeria in large quantities as even kids will be seen with it. The Nigerian government will thereby appear not to be serious with its fight against drug smuggling. 

Back to Kenya: Where the burnt took place is a historical sight in Kenya today, the remnants of the heap of ashes are still there for tourists to visit and see. It reminds everyone, both visitors and Kenyans of the government’s strict policy against elephant poaching for the harvesting and exportation of tusks.

So far, setting it ablaze works. 

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