Rosewood Export: UN’s Amina Mohammed did no wrong, Nigerian govt says

Amina Mohammed
Amina Mohammed

The Nigerian government has denied the allegations of wood export racketeering to China levelled against UN Deputy Secretary-General Ms Amina Mohammed.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria, denied the allegations being widely circulated in the media against the ex-Minister of Environment.

The statement read: “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.

“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.”

The Nigerian government noted the processes involved in issuing approvals for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in wild Fauna and Flora, CITES.

It said “potential exporters are required to apply to the Ministry” and for “inspection of factories and premises for compliance by wood experts”.

The statement said qualified exporters were issued ‘Letters of Supports’, with ‘Invitation of the Ministry by the exporter for the stuffing of the containers.’

The ministry stated that all the CITES permits signed by the ex-minister were done in line with stringent guidance and procedures.

“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 Feb. 24, 2017.”

The ministry further stated that Mrs. Mohammed, during her tenure as Minister of Environment, carried out far-reaching reforms in the environmental sector.

It cited that of bringing Rosewood from unguided trade of CITES Appendix III to Appendix II, which sanitised the wood industry in Nigeria.

It added that Mrs. Mohammed “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 Dec. 30, 2016.”

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) had earlier claimed that the former Nigerian minister might have benefited personally from signing thousands of allegedly backdated permits in January 2017 which were allegedly used to clear illegal rosewood exports to China.

EIA further claimed this happened at the time Mrs. Mohammed was preparing to leave as Nigeria’s minister of environment following her UN appointment.

EIA’s report said over 1.4 million illegal rosewood logs from Nigeria worth $300 million were detained at the ports in China in 2016 but were released after the presentation of CITES certificates signed by the ex-minister.

(NAN)


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  • Moneyz N Horseyz

    Mr Ibrahim Jibrin, please state the facts clearly and try not to confuse Nigerians. FYI, I have the report of the EIA and the following are some of the key findings in the report:

    Evidence strongly indicates that over 1.4 million kosso logs, worth about US$300 million, were stopped by Chinese customs officials in 2016, then released in 2017, after Nigerian CITES authorities retrospectively issued approximately 4,000 permits.

    • It appears that Mrs. Amina J. Mohammed, former Nigerian Minister of Environment, signed the CITES documents during her last days in office, just before she became the United Nations Deputy SecretaryGeneral.

    • The retrospective issuance of thousands of CITES permits is reportedly the result of a grand corruption scheme that involves over a million dollars paid by influential Chinese and Nigerian businessmen to senior Nigerian officials, with the alleged help of Chinese consulate. •

  • Sanmi Falae

    What minister ever does any wrong in Buahri’s government? Everything goes in Buhari’s government.

  • thusspokez

    The statement read: “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.

    The Nigerian government defence of Mrs. Mohammed is too late; it should go and ask communities in the areas affected by the Chinese fuelled deforestation in Kogi, Adamawa, Cross Rivers, Kaduna, Taraba, Ondo, Ekiti Ogun states to mention but a few.

    As for Mrs. Mohammed, the cat is out of the bag and news of her last-minute dodgy role in the timber racket has travelled far beyond the shores of Nigeria and circulating on social media. I can’t see how she would dodge repeatedly, asked by the world press and environmental pressure groups about her dodgy role in the rosewood timber racket.

  • Gary

    So to cut the long story short, Madam Amina Mohammed gave WAIVERS to Chinese business interests to deforest endangered Timber from Nigeria to China.
    The authorities would have seized the shipments under international protocols but for the fact that the Minister had approved the exports.
    And they want us to believe that nothing untoward happened or that money wouldn’t have greased palms to facilitate these waivers.
    Under Jonathan, the racket was on import duty waivers claimed by the well connected to avoid Customs duties. Now with Buhari, the racket is granting waivers to foreigners to exploit valuable Nigerian Timber for export.
    The more things change in Nigeria, the more they stay the same. Elections have so far allowed the people to replace one set of thieves with another. I guess that’s reflecting Federal Character in Treasury Looting.

  • Tijani

    Fastest non-probe ever! No efcc invitation? No Magu says this and that? No efcc sources says crack team assembled for barbecue and grilling? No SERAP, CACOL, Csnac or Pacac? No Itse Sagay, Femi Falana, or even a sermon from fake pastor osinbajo. No witchhunt, not murmur.

    Yet this Amina not only stole rosewood, she masterminded PMB’s PTF scam of old. The coffee maker.

  • bashkano

    This lady is a very well known conservationist of the highest order and an acclaimed international administrator of men and resources. She could not have stooped so low as to dent her personal reputations that she built over the intervening years through serving many succeeding governments and, indeed, that of her country, for pecuniary reasons. The Lady might have trodden on some selfish toes that might have now created for her some sworn enemies who want to take a pound of her flesh by bringing her down from her exalted international seat. Signing of CITES Certificates is not a simple affair that is done without the full clearance of the Ministry of Environments experts’ advice. It undergoes rigorous checks in order not to breach the provisions of the international convention that the country is part of.

  • Wale

    This woman has always been given a free pass and no one wanted to question how fast she rose without actually having any school credentials, although she has now corrected that has she elevated…including adding adjunct college professorship and pursuing a master’s to make up for actually not having a college degree. I believe this leak that outed her by an international environmental group was for two reasons; she is being positioned to be the first black woman SG of UN. Some people would have known of that since they know her past and root. You’d noticed during the senate confirmation they quickly all said yes when a Yoruba senator questioned her about her actual acedemic credentials. Someone powerful had a hand in her quick rise-I would hate to say it was bottom power but I think the beauty and phones helped back then. Her sister by the way was the lady that cleared mr prest of most of his money in UK biggest divorce case then. International environmental groups do not make allegations without fully doing their investigations and probably have evidence of bribes or compromise. The swiftness of the Buhari defense of her is two-one they probably have a hand in the bribing and got their share and two it goes back to show another accomplishment of Buhari’ short administration (UN lady from his ministers) was nothing but a scam.
    NO GOOD NEWS FOR THIS MESS called Nigeria.