The Nigerian Customs Service has announced a seizure of N22.6 billion worth of pangolin scales and elephant tusks in Lagos. This is a major boost to the fight against the extinction of endangered wildlife species in Nigeria, as the animals have been nearly made extinct by poachers who sell the parts to Asian herbal producers.
This was disclosed by the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.), in a meeting with newsmen on Wednesday, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
He said the pangolin scales (196 sacks) weighed 17,137.44 kilograms; elephant tusks, 870.44 kilograms and pangolin claws, 4.60 kilograms. He added that after proper examination, the items were evacuated from a location on the eastern side of Ijeoma Street, Lekki, Lagos State, with 3 suspects arrested.
What the Customs boss said
Ali said the item seizure also falls under the export prohibition schedule VI of the extant Common External Tariff, which bans the export of endangered species parts.
“Nigeria is a signatory to CITES convention, hence cannot be used as a transit hub. This feat is a testimony of what sincere collaboration between nations can achieve for our world, and individual nations in particular.
“Already three suspects who are non-nationals have been arrested. They are: Mr Traore Djakonba, Mr Isiak Musa and Mr Mohammed Bereta.
“The Kingpin, Mr Berete Morybinet, is on the run thinking he can evade the long arm of the law.
“Security agencies at all entry and exit points are on red alert to track and arrest him to face justice. He is, therefore, advised in his interest to surrender himself to the NCS,” he said.
He warned that deforestation and depletion of wildlife, especially the endangered species, have been a global concern with nations collaborating, sharing intelligence and expertise that would stamp out indiscriminate killings of endangered species.
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Nairametrics earlier reported that the Nigerian Customs Service intercepted Pangolin scales and tusks and bones from endangered species worth N952 million, allegedly bound for export to Vietnam.