Federal republic of nigeria fourth national biodiversity

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ii. Legal Framework:
One of the significant outcomes of Nigeria’s participation in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Nigeria, thus assumes obligations under the provision of the treaty in accordance with customary international law.
The Nigerian constitution makes fundamental provision for environmental protection and clearly identifies important components of environment. Section 20 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria contains the country’s environmental objectives that are meant to “protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air, land, forest and wildlife”.
In recognition of the need to protect her biological resources, Nigeria has put in place a number of legislations including the Forestry Ordinance and the National Parks Act, the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, National Oil Spill and Detection Agency, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency among others.

However the implementation of these laws have been weak apart from the fact that some of these laws need review. Some are how ever under going review at slow pace.

There are Biosafety and Biodiversity management bills that are before the Parliament in the country to further strengthen the issues of biodiversity conservation.

An indicative list of laws and international instruments are shown in boxes 1 & 2.

Dense forest of Cross River National Park



  • African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Algiers), 1968

  • International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, 1954-62

  • Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the living resources of the High Sea, 1985

  • Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dump of Wastes and Other Matters, 1972

  • The RAMSAR Convention on the Conservation of Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Water Fowl Habitat, 1971

  • The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Culture and Natural Heritage, 1972

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) 1973

  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, 1973

  • Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992

  • Convention on Biological Diversity 1992

  • Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety 2000.



  • Exclusive Economic Zone Act of 1978

  • The Forestry ordinance 1937

  • Wild Animal Preservation Laws of 2926

  • Oil in Navigable Waters Act of 1968

  • FEPA Act 1988, 59 of 1992

  • FEPA Act of 1992

  • EIA Act 86 of 1992

  • National Parks Act 1979, 1991 and 1999.

  • Sea Fishing Act 1971 and listing regulation of 1972

  • The Endangered Species (Control of International Traffic) Act of 1983.

  • NESRA Act 2006

Goliah Leron, goliah Ardea
iii. Institutional Framework:
A number of institutions and organizations have been designated to carry out activities that could facilitate the implementation of the CBD in Nigeria. The Federal Ministry of Environment coordinates the activities of these institutions. The creation of the Ministry is a deliberate design by the Federal Government to achieve a well-articulated, effective and efficient and efficient outfit that will adequately address and manage environmental issues in Nigeria in a holistic manner, devoid of duplication of efforts and competition among various government agencies.
The Federal Ministry of Environment has the responsibility to ensure that all developmental projects are subjected to Environmental Impact Assessment before they are embarked upon, to control land degradation including soil erosion, combat desertification, abate pollution, and embark on reforestation and conservation of biological diversity. The National Parks Service a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Environment, has the overall responsibility for the protection and conservation of biodiversity in the national parks. At the state level, Ministries have been established for the protection of biological diversity and general environmental management. Private initiatives include the establishment of botanical/zoological gardens and support for biodiversity programmes through provision of financial grants. There has also been a marked increase in the number of non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are concerned with the environment and conservation of biological severity.
The Prominent NGOs include the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Nigerian Environment Study/Action Team (NEST) the Savannah Conservation CENRAD, ERA and the Nigeria Field Society and Biodiversity Conservation and Development Program. These Institutions have made substantial success on their various mandates but have being constrained by inadequate funding for the implementation of programs their programs.
iv. Institutions and their Responsibilities
1. Federal Ministry of Environment: advises Federal Government on all matters pertaining to the conservation utilization and regeneration of forests resources. It has overall responsibility for environmental management in the country, protection and management of biodiversity/resources through stakeholder participation. It also assists in the development of trained manpower to meet the demands of environmental management. These responsibilities have been carried out. The Federal Government has established National Environmental Standards Regulation Enforcement Agency to effectively enforce all environmental laws in the country. Other Agencies are National Parks Service, National Oil Spill and Detection Agency, under the Federal Ministry of Environment .

2. Forestry Department: Constitution and protection of forest lands through enforcement of relevant legislation, develop regeneration programmes and harvesting systems for biological resources.

3. State Ministries of Environment. The state Ministries of Environment also play the role of protecting the environment and Conserving Biodiversity at the state level,

4. Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria: has the responsibility of improving genetic value of species of economic potentials, improvement of methods of cultivating, harvesting and processing of forest products. It is to also improve knowledge of the ecology of plants and animals, the methods of pest control and management of biodiversity in natural forest. Further more, it is to integrate the cultivation of wild plants and wild animals of economic importance into the farming systems in different ecological zones to yield positive socio-economic benefits to the rural populace

5. Local Government Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Establish Local Government Forest Reserves, mobilize rural communities to support environmental and conservation programmes.

6. Ministry of Agriculture: Supports biodiversity conservation in grazing reserves through control of hunting and harvesting of plants, encourage and promote the consolidation of scattered and fragmented farm holdings, encourages production of agricultural crops and commodities to ensure food and nutrition security in the country and for export.

7. Ministry of Water Resources: development of surface and underground water for multipurpose uses and management of water sheds.
8. Universities/Technical Schools: conducts research on the control and management of species under in situ and ex situ conservation methods and train manpower for the execution of conservation programmes of government.
9. Non-Governmental Organizations: support biodiversity conservation through awareness campaigns, interpretive education and research, lobby governments to support environmental and Biodiversity conservation programmes, direct participation in preparation and implementation of management plans, report writing and in seeking for international funds to support biodiversity conservation.
Notable NGOs involved in biodiversity conservation in the country include Nigerian Conservation Foundation, (NCF), Forestry Association of Nigeria (FAN), Nigerian Field Society (NFS), Savanna Conservation (SC), Centre for Environment Renewable Natural Resources Management Research and Development (CENRAD) and Nigerian Environment Action Study Team (NEST), Biodiversity Conservation Programme (BDCP) .
10. Linkage Centre for Forest Conservation and Biodiversity (Federal Ministry of Environment/University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB): environmental monitoring of conservation plots and agricultural lands, wildlife domestication, aquaculture, and conservation of medicinal plants and lost crops and research on species of Botanical and Zoological Gardens.
11. National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) Ethnobotanical/Ethno medical survey of medicinal plants for industrial Utilization and their conservation: documentation, training and evaluation of herbal products and traditional medical practice.
12. Agricultural Based Research institutions: conservation of ex situ seed gene bank and live field gene bank.
(i) Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria (RRIN): in-situ conservation of species of rubber, ex situ seed gene bank, live field gene bank and in -vitro for rubber.
(ii) Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) Ibadan Conservation of in situ species of cocoa, ex situ Seed gene bank, live field gene bank and in viro for cocoa.
(iii) Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) Benin: conservation of in situ species of cocoa, ex situ Seed gene bank, live field gene bank in vitro for cocoa.
(iv) National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI) Badagi: conservation of ex situ gene bank and live field gene bank for all cereals.
(v) National Root Crops Research institute, Umudike: conservation of live field gene bank on farm for cassava, potato, sweet potato, ginger and coca yam.
(vi) Institute of Agricultural Research, Samaru Zaria: conservation of gene bank for various food crops.
(vii) Institute of Agricultural Research and Training Moor Plantation, Ibadan: conservation of live gene bank for various crops for training and development.
(viii) National Horticultural Research Institute Ibadan: conservation of seed gene bank ,live field in vitro for horticultural food crops.

(ix) National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, Ibadan :conservation of seed field gene bank in vitro for forest trees, fruit trees, vegetable and ornamentals.

(x) International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan: conservation of ex situ seed gene bank and field gene bank for agricultural crops, and multipurpose trees.
(xi) Lake Chad Research Institute Maiduguri: conservation and genetic improvement of cereals, ex situ seed gene bank and field gene bank.
(xii) National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAELS), Zaria: public awareness on the Conservation of crop gene banks on the field and the use of environmentally friendly agricultural practices.
(xiii) National Animal production Research Institute (NAPRI) Zaria: conservation gene banks in livestock species.
(xiv) National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR)

:genetic improvement of freshwater fisheries and conservation.

v . Federal Government Project Initiatives;
i.) National Biosafety Frame work(NBF) : the federal government of Nigeria has developed NBF with the collaboration of UNEP-GEF to ensure the safe management of living modified organisms( GMOs) to ensure they do not have adverse impact on the conservation of biodiversity and human health.
ii) Local Empowerment and Environmental management program(LEEMP); its for the empowerment of rural populace while protecting the environment.
iii) Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem(GCLME): its a project with collaboration with UNIDO for the implementation of pilot phase of mangrove reforestation and nypa palm utilization method in the Delta area of Nigeria. Its aimed at conserving biodiversity, improving the socio-economic life of the coastal communities.
iv) Integrated Management of Invasive Aquatic weeds project: this is a project with collaboration of ADB for the control of invasive aquatic weeds.
v) Climate Change Programme: this is a Federal Government Programme to address climate change problems . A special unit has been established to handle the issues of climate change in the country. Towards ameliorating the problem of climate change the Federal Government has directed that 60% of the Ecological fund of the Nation be dedicated to reforestation programs. Forestry Projects are been developed currently in the country. A climate change bill has been passed by the Parliament awaiting Presidential accent.

vi) Desertification and Drought Amelioration Department under the Federal Ministry of Environment ; this is a Department established to address issues of drought and desertification in the country.

vii. Fadama Integrated Land Management Project: This project empowers the Rural People on how to utilization wetlands in sustainable manner

vi Biodiversity Surveys:

Biodiversity surveys in Nigeria have come in various forms such as botanical surveys, zoological surveys, forest resources surveys, wildlife inventory and aquatic resources surveys. Results of such surveys have been utilized in the preparation of Conservation strategies and Action Plans. The following Conservation Strategies and land have benefited from the result of such surveys:

" National Conservation Strategy 1985

" Natural Resources Conservation Action Plan 1992

" National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 1998

" State Environmental Strategy and Action Plan 1997

Nigeria however needs to make the survey continuous and systematic as different from the existing practice of discontinuous assessment. Under the State of the Environment assessment and Reporting Programme, the country is placing special attention on biological diversity, forests and coastal and marine resources. The programme commenced in year 2001 and is expected to provide input into the UNEP's Global Environment Outlook.
vii. Vegetation and Land Use Studies:
The First National vegetation and land-use studies were carried out in 1976 . The study revealed that the natural vegetation was altered by human activities such as grazing, cultivation, bush burning and logging over long period of time. The disturbances on the vegetation have resulted in the complex patchwork of vegetation with different ages and forms particularly in the densely populated areas. The 1976 studies were updated through another study in 1995. The study shows drastic changes in the vegetation over those of 1976. The highlights of these are shown in Table 3 .






Guinea Savannah

Sudan Savannah

Sahel Savannah



Significant increase



Undisturbed Forest

Disturbed Forest

Reparian forest





Mountainous Vegetation

Mountain forest

Mountain grassland

No change




Continuous grassland

Discontinuous grassland

Increased by 6,955

Increased by 5,111


Flood Plain Marsh/Swamp

Shrub Swamp

Grass Marsh




Coastal Vegetation

Freshwater Swamp

Mangrove forest

Tidal flats/Saltwater Marsh





Exposed Areas

Gully Erosion

Sand Dunes

Rocks outcrops







Increased by 1,561

viii. International Cooperation :

Nigeria believes that collective efforts at the sub regional, regional and global levels are crucial to achieving the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits from these resources.

Nigeria has participated actively in the initiation and negotiation bilateral and multilateral agreements, treaties and conventions at the sub-regional, regional, and global levels.

a. Sub-Regional Level:

Through the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), Nigeria has participated actively in the development and implementation of initiatives on the conservation of biological diversity in the sub-region. Such initiatives include Water Conservation, Agriculture and Aquatic weeds Control Projects and the UNIDO supported Gulf of Guinea Large Marine Ecosystem Project (GOGLME). The country has also participated in the elaboration of Sub-Regional Action Plans (SRAP) on desertification control under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD). In addition, it has also participated in the development of the African elephant conservation plan for the species in the sub-region and is helping in the development of some bilateral sub-regional projects relevant to biodiversity conservation. As a member of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Nigeria is participating with other countries in the Chad Basin, in the Conservation of the resources of the Lake Chad.

b. Regional Level:

At the regional level, Nigeria is working to forge partnership for the benefit of biodiversity conservation in the African region. Some of these activities include the FAO initiative on plant and Genetic Resources Development for Food and Agriculture. The country recently collaborated with UNEP to host the 8th session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment. At the 4th Conference of the Parties to the Conservation on Migratory Species of Wild Animals in November 1999, Nigeria signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Sea Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa including Macronesia and was appointed focal point for the species.

c. Global Level:
Nigeria has signed and ratified a number of biodiversity-related Conventions and Protocols and government has as a matter of policy ensured the implementation of the provisions of these Conventions, Protocols and Agreements at the national level. Some of the conventions and protocols have and about to be domesticated.

ix. Man power Development:
There is a dearth of trained professionals in biodiversity conservation and in keeping with Articles 12 of the Convention. The curricula in the relevant department of some Universities and other institutions of higher learning has been redesigned to address the needs of training professionals in biodiversity conservation in the country.
In-service and short-term specialized training in biodiversity conservation for the support staff in the various aspects of their functions has enhanced the implementation of the NBSAP to an extent.

There is need however for capacity building in international best practices.

x. Financial Resources and Mechanism:
The funding strategies for biodiversity conservation need to be reviewed to ensure adequate financial allocation to the Federal Ministry of Environment and other relevant establishments. This will be in consonance with Articles 20 and 21 of the Convention. Additional resources need to be mobilized from the Ecological Funds and annual budgetary provisions for biodiversity conservation are being considered. In view of this the federal government has directed additional funding for aforestation programs from the ecological Fund Office.

Trust Funds (as being operated in Ondo, Oyo and Cross-River states). Others are resources from multilateral agencies, NGO's CBO's and the private sector.

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