The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said that its officers have again, for the second time in two months, intercepted a huge catche of Pangolin scale worth N1.7billion in Lagos. This is even as the NCS revealed that findings have indicated that Nigeria is a conduit pipe being used by a yet to be identified international cartel in this illegal trade.
Recall that the NCS in August had intercepted a huge catche of Pangolin scales worth N22billion in Lagos.
Addressing journalists in Lagos, on Monday, the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Alli stated that investigations are ongoing to reveal the country where the Pangolin scales are being brought in from to Nigeria.
According to the Customs CG who was represented by the NCS Spokesman, Joseph Attah, “It’s my pleasure to brief you on the success story of the Nigeria Customs Service ongoing crackdown on illegal wild life trade.
“Even though this criminality is not essentially a Nigerian thing, sadly some foreigners with the active connivance of few Nigerians are bent on using our dear country as a transit route for illegal wildlife trade.
“You will recall that Nigeria Customs Service acting on credible intelligence provided by our international partners about two months ago, announced wildlife seizure worth over N22billion with arrested suspects currently facing prosecution.
“In the course of further investigation to arrest other members of the gang, we received another credible intelligence from the same international partner, Wild Life Justice Commission, and swiftly deployed our intelligence operatives with the Strike Force as a SWOT team. This led to the interception of One Mercedes Benz Bus with registration number BGT 256 LG along Kudirat Abiola Way Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos.
“Upon 100 percent examination, the bus was found to contain the following: Pangolin Scales by 60kg, Pangolin Scales by 35kg, Pangolin Scales by 54kg, Pangolin Scales by 64kg, Pangolin Scales by 66kg, Pangolin Scales by 58kg, Pangolin Scales by 50kg, Pangolin Scales by 73kg, Pangolin Scales by 61kg, Pangolin Scales by 64kg, Pangolin Scales by 92kg, Pangolin Scales by 89kg, Pangolin Scales by 60kg, and Pangolin Scales by 92.5kg, totalling 1,009.5kg of Pangoling scales plus one sack of Pangolin Claws by 5kg.
“The Duty Paid Value of the entire seizure cumulates at N1,728,788,750.00.
“Two suspects have already been arrested in connection with this Seizure. They are Mr. Salif Sanwidi and Mr Sunday Ebenyi. They will also be charged to court to answer for their crime.
“For the avoidance of doubt, illegal wild life trade contravenes Section 63 “e” and “g” of CEMA Cap 45 LFN 2004.
“Nigeria is a signatory to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. As a responsible members of the global community, we cannot allow our nation to be used as a conduit pipe for illegal trade on wildlife.
“We remain committed to the quarterly meeting with embassies of USA, UK and Germany and welcome on board other International organizations that are joining the fray.
“We commend Wild Life Justice Commission for their continued strong commitment to this course through provision of credible and actionable intelligence, including technical aids. NCS appreciates this working synergy and looks forward to more.”
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