N952million Pangolin seizure : Comptroller Abba-Kura wields a big stick
* Says economic saboteurs must face the law
(Weekend News Analysis- by Udeme Clement ):
REVENUE COLLECTOR CUM ENFORCEMENT OFFICER :
Obviously, the Customs Area Controller (CAC),Apapa Command, Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura, can rightly be described as a revenue collector cum enforcement officer.
Aside from generating revenue for the Federal Government to grow the nation’s economy, he is wielding a big stick after economic saboteurs, working against government policies on maritime trade at the premier port.
While Abba-Kura takes delight in rolling out statistics of huge revenue collection, he abhors trade infractions, or any act of sabotage against government.
He sees such infringement as a deliberate attempt to short-change the government.
As such, the enforcement trait of Compt. Abba-kura often manifest any time he displays seizure of prohibited items at the seaport.
He demonstrated this strong displeasure again four days ago when addressing Journalists at Apapa port, on the mind-blowing seizure of pangolin scales worth over N952 million in monetary value, intercepted by his Command.
Though he presented the details in a very calmed manner, our Correspondent could easily observe the annoyance in his speech, gesture and even movement at the scene where the items were displayed.
With both hands folded downward and stirring at the 20ft container laden with N952million pangolin scales, with a suspect by the left side of the items, he asserted, “Economic saboteurs must be made to face the full wrath of the law.
All efforts must be geared towards ensuring that such dangerous and harmful environmental crimes are detected and prevented”.
DETAILS OF THE LAW:
He went on, “For the avoidance of doubt, our action of impounding this container is in line with the provisions of Section 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Also, the seizure is in line with schedule 6 of the Common External Tariff.
“The suspect identified as Mr. Felix Oname, of No. 17 Chief Joseph Udeth Street, Egan Igando-Lagos, is here.
“After appropriate investigation, the Service headquarters will take necessary action in line with environmental laws, guidelines, protocols and conventions on environment”.
Giving explanation on how he trailed the container to Apapa seaport, he informed, “I read an article posted by Royal Malaysian Customs department. Immediately, I got in touch with other officials to contact Malaysian representative in World Customs Organisation (WCO), in order to ascertain the particulars of the exact container.
“Through that investigation, I got the name of the exporter but it was not a Nigerian name. With that, we focused our eagle-eye on all exports going to Asia. Fortunately, we intercepted the container through intelligence, as we allowed it to come into the port.”
CREDIBLE INTELLIGENCE :
Compt. Abba-kura said, “The seizure was made on Thursday, January 21, 2021, based on credible intelligence by Customs operatives at the Export Seat of the Command.
“The container processed for export was falsely declared as Furniture Components, in an attempt to evade arrest. Upon 100 percent physical examination, it was found to contain 162 sacks of pangolin scales weighing 8,800 kg, 57 sacks of mixed endangered species of various sizes, such as Ivory/animal horns and Lion bones destined for Haiphong, Vietnam.
Total weight of the items stood at 854,719 tons.”
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE :
He stressed, “The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES 1973) entails that Customs Administration all over the world protects wildlife by intercepting illegal trade on such animals. Pangolins—scaly, shy, and sensitive—are believed to be the world’s most trafficked non-human mammals, accounting for as much as 20 percent of all illegal wildlife trade.
“Their scales, which are made of keratin (the material in fingernails) have no scientifically proven curative properties but are in high demand for use in traditional Chinese medicine.
“Consequently, all eight species are threatened with extinction. Despite 2017 ban on international commercial trade of the scales, experts estimate that more than a million pangolins were poached from 2000 through to 2014.”
EXPLANATION OF CONCEPT :
Financial Business inquest reveals that the Royal Malaysian Customs Department, abbreviated as RMC is the Malaysian Government agency saddled with the statutory mandate of administrating the nation’s indirect tax policy, border enforcement and narcotic offences.
Compt Abba-kura and his Officers arriving the scene at Apapa port :