Minister of State, Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril has described as smear campaign against the federal government the alleged involvement of the former Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed in wood export racketeering to China.
“The attention of the Federal Ministry of Environment has been drawn to reports being widely circulated in the Media alleging variously that the ex-Minister of Environment and now Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Mrs. Amina Mohammed was allegedly involved in wood export racketeering to China.
“The report which contained, spurious and unsubstantiated allegations against the former Minister, is a pure misrepresentation of facts, baseless and intended to smear not just Mrs. Mohammed, but the Nigerian Government.”
Stating what he said were the facts, in response to the allegations, Jibril said, “The Ministry of Environment wishes to state unequivocally that the Ex-Minister is not under any probe whatsoever over any purported wrongdoing whether locally or internationally.
“The Ex-Minister acted within the ambit of the law of both the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the protocols of International Environmental conventions while in office between November 2015 to February 2017.
“For clarity, the processes involved in issuing approvals for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are as follows; Potential exporters are required to apply to the Ministry; Inspection of factories and premises for compliance by wood Experts; Qualified Exporters are issued letters of support; Invitation of the Ministry by the exporter for the stuffing of the containers; Exporter applies for CITES permit; Granting of approval.”
The Ministry states clearly that all the CITES permits signed by the Ex-Minister was done in line with stringent guidance and Procedures, the minister of state said in his statement. “Specifically, Rosewood (Kosso) is under CITES Appendix II, which allows sustainable Trade to improve the livelihood of people in line with International best practices.
“For the records, the CITES permits signed by the Ex-Minister were in batches from August, 2016 to January, 2017. In line with established Public Service norms, the Ex-Minister continued to perform her duties diligently up to the last minute of her last day in office in February 24th 2017.”
The minister said, “It is important to state that Mrs. Amina J. Mohammed during her tenure as Minister of Environment carried out far reaching reforms in the Environmental Sector particularly in bringing Rosewood from unguided trade of CITES Appendix III to Appendix II, which sanitised the Wood industry in Nigeria. In addition, she led the Review of Endangered Species Act, Convention on International Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora and duly signed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on 30th December, 2016.”