Again: FOU Customs records massive seizure of N1.7bn Pangolin
.Traps Chinese national in its net
By Udeme Clement
The Federal Operations Unit, ,FOU, Zone ‘A’ of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Ikeja, Lagos has recorded massive seizure of Wild-life parts known as Pangolin, estimated at the Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N1.7billion, from a private home in Lagos.
A Chinese national, identified as Mr. Li Chaomin was arrested in connection with the prohibited items seized by FOU operatives.
The Customs Area Controller, CAC, of FOU, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, disclosed this to newsmen, also revealed that his men through intelligence tip off, seized the items from a warehouse, located at 64 Opebi area of Toyin street, Ikeja, Lagos.
The CAC stressed, “For avoidance of doubt, our action is in line with the provisions of Sections 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act ,CEMA, Cap 45, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 (Power to search premises), Section 158 of CEMA, Cap 45 (power to patrol freely). So, we are warning economic saboteurs to desist from nefarious activities and allow sanity in our economic environment, as we will not hesitate to carry out our statutory responsibilities in accordance with the law”
Comptroller Uba emphasized, “This year’s Pangolin Day was held on February 17 globally, to create awareness on one of the world’s most vulnerable but least-known species. So, smuggling of wild-life body parts is illegal because it is banned”.
Thus, this remarkable seizure is coming only few days after the same Customs Unit evacuated 55 sacks of Pangolin Shells weighing 2001kg, valued at N408.3million and 218 pieces of Elephant Tusks, weighing 343kg, valued at N85.1million, which were handed over to Nigeria Environment Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency, NESREA, for further investigation, thereby showing Customs collaborative effort towards protecting natural habitat in the environment.
Speaking further, Comptroller Uba displayed the seized items packed in 329 sacks, weighing 8,492kg, even as he expressed displeasure about the activities of individuals smuggling this banned items against the laws of the land.
He pointed out, “Customs Administration all over the world protects wild-life by intercepting illegal trade on such animals. Pangolins are the only known mammals that have large and protective keratin scales covering their skin. So, after a surge in poaching across Asia, the international illegal wild-life trade is now also a growing threat to African pangolin species. These scales were sourced from other African countries to be trafficked”.
The CAC maintained, “Our duty is to implement government policies and we must continue to do our work effectively, in order to protect our economy”.
Financial Business inquest revealed that Comptroller Uba and his operatives have recorded outstanding performance at FOU Customs in the levels of enforcement, increased surveillance and revenue generation in the last few months.