Customs, Wildlife Justice Commission Intercepts 397kg Pangolin Scales
* Arrests 8 culprits
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted 397.5kg of pangolin scales through timely use of intelligence.
Customs made the seizure in collaboration with Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC), even as they arrested eight suspects in connection with the seized items.
The National Public Relations Officer of Customs, DC Timi Bomodi disclosed these details to reporters.
He revealed :
“Three out of the arrested suspects were identified as Vietnamese involved in attempted trafficking of large amounts of pangolin scales and ivories through Nigeria.
“Preliminary investigation revealed the three Vietnamese nationals as high-ranking members of a major organised crime syndicate involved in trafficking of ivory, pangolin scales, rhino horns and lion bones from Mozambique and South Africa through Nigeria to Vietnam. The three suspects were arrested while sourcing for pangolin scales in Nigeria, 397.5kg of which were found in their possession.”
His assertions :
“It is important to note that Wildlife Justice Commission is an international body that works to disrupt and dismantle networks of illegal wildlife trade.
“Through an intelligence-led operation, the collaboration between NCS and WJC led to the seizure of 400 Kg of pangolin scales put up for sale on illegal network. The two organisations were able to identify other members of the criminal syndicate for arrest.
“To further put a stop to the environmental destruction posed by these unscrupulous elements, the suspects have been charged to Court for illegal trade in wildlife.”
The Customs Spokesman pointed out :
“These arrests came as part of a proactive enforcement operation targeting the top echelon of wildlife traffickers worldwide and are assessed to have caused unprecedented disruptions to organised global wildlife trafficking network.
“This is the fourth major illegal wildlife arrest in one year resulting from the strategic partnership between Nigeria Customs Service, Wildlife Justice Commission and other foreign governments. It demonstrates the commitment of Customs as a formidable ally in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
“Initial crackdowns in 2021 resulted in discoveries of 7.1 tons of pangolin scales and 850 kgs of ivory, all of which were seized by the NCS.”
His words :
“The Comptroller-General of Customs, CGC Hameed Ibrahim Ali while commending officers of the Service for their efforts in breaking the chain of illegal wildlife trade, unlawful deforestation and tree cutting activities, assured the public that the Service will leave no stone unturned in its efforts to support the rest of the world in protecting endangered species and prevent deforestation.
“Nigeria Customs Service would never allow perpetrators of these crimes to profit from it or escape the wrath of the law.
“Recall that in 2021 the Comptroller General of Customs during a media briefing in Lagos showcased seizure of pangolin scales and elephant tusks worth N22.6 billion.
“This achievement was widely acknowledged as a major boost to the fight against extinction of endangered wildlife species in Nigeria.
“It is pertinent to conclude that Nigeria Customs will continue to enforce schedule 6 of the Common External Tariff, which identified endangered species as absolute prohibition for export.
“As a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of fauna and flora (CITES), the Service will not relent in its enforcement responsibilities by suppressing to the barest minimum unsustainable and unethical exploitation of the nation’s fragile ecosystem and its biodiversity.”