COMPTROLLER General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.), has announced seizure of N22.6 billion worth of elephant tusks and pangolin scales, and arrest of three persons over alleged illegal exportation of same items.
The seizure by Customs is part of fight against extinction of endangered wildlife species caused by poachers who hunt and sell the animal parts to Asian herbal producers.
Col. Hameed, said the pangolin scales (contained in 196 sacks), weighed 17,137.44 kilograms; elephant tusks, 870.44 kilograms, and pangolin claws, 4.60 kilograms.
“After proper examination, the items were evacuated from a location on the eastern side of Ijeoma Street, Lekki, Lagos State, with 3 suspects arrested. The arrested suspects are Traore Djakonba, Isiak Musa and Mohammed Bereta, while the kingpin Berete Morybinet is said to be on the run.
“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,” Ali warned.
The items seized fall 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 on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) 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,” Ali stated.
Customs 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 killing of endangered species.