Wildlife protection : Customs in Port Harcourt seizes pangolin scales, elephant tusks worth N680.3million

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Wildlife protection :
Customs in Port Harcourt seizes pangolin scales, elephant tusks worth N680.3million

The Area Controller and his team showing the seized items

The Eastern Marine Command of Nigeria Customs Service, Port Harcourt, has made significant break through in combatting wildlife
trafficking by intercepting a substantial quantity of pangolin scales, elephant tusks and other prohibited items worth
N680,290,400.00, (approximately N680.3million), in monetary value.

The pangolin scales and elephant tusks weighing 365.4 kg, as well as six large sacks of second-hand shoes, were intercepted within
the south-south coastal waterways along Ibaka-Bakasi beach.

The seizures highlight Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna And Flora (CITES).

The operation led by diligent officers of Eastern Marine Command and
interception of the prohibited items represents a significant blow to illicit trade of these endangered species, reinforcing Nigeria’s determination to protect its wildlife and fulfil its
obligation under the CITES convention.

Speaking, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Compt Mike Ugbagu, expressed appreciation to the management of Nigeria Customs Service for deploying gunboats and logistic to support the Command’s anti-smuggling operations.

According to him;  “These additional resources greatly enhanced the Command’s ability to patrol and secure the south-south coatsal waterways effectively and combing the beaches effectively.

The CAC reiterates his commitment to provide officers with the necessary tools and support needed to
safeguard the Nation’s natural resources /habitat.

The seizure of the pangolins scales and elephant tusks underscores the urgent need for concerted global efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. These heinous activities endanger vulnerable species and also contribute to organized crime and illicit financial flows.

Nigeria, as a responsible member of the international community, remains steadfast in its commitment
to combating wildlife trafficking and preserving its rich biodiversity.

The Area Controller commended his officers for their dedication and professionalism in executing this operation. The successful seizure of these wildlife products
showcases the effectiveness of collaborative efforts between the enforcement agencies, which the Area Controller sought for with the Nigerian Navy and other agencies operating along the waterways of Ibaka-Bakasi beach, in curbing
illegal wildlife trade and other forms of smuggling.

Compt Ugbagu emphasised that the Eastern Marine Command under his watch will continue to intensify efforts in combating wildlife trafficking and protecting Nigeria’s natural heritage.

He said; “This seizure of pangolin scales and elephant tusks sends a strong message to wildlife traffickers in the area that their activities will not be tolerated and they will face
severe consequences for their illegal activities if caught.  It should be noted that Nigeria Customs Service is a government agency responsible for facilitating legitimate trade ,
enforcing customs laws and combating illicit activities, including wildlife trafficking”.

More so, the CAC has reinvigorated and strengthened the patrol teams along the waterways for 24hours patrol and combing the beaches. This
has yielded positive outcomes and leading to the significant seizure the Command just made.

Some of the seized items

Also, a highly productive stakeholders’ engagement parley organized by the Area Controller was held at the Command’s headquarters in Portharcourt, bringing together ship owners, freight agents and key stakeholders from the maritime

The objective of the parley according to the CAC, was to discuss and streamline the process of
carrying out proper documentation of temporary importation papers, thereby enhancing ease of doing business in the maritime industry in the south-south.

The parley showcases a strong commitment to facilitating international trade and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Ship owners, agent and representatives from various maritime enterprises actively participated in the discussions, sharing their experiences, challenges and valuable insights.

The event served as a platform for open dialogue and constructive engagement, allowing stakeholders to address common issues and propose practical solutions for improving the documentation process of temporary importation papers.

Seizure of second-hand shoes


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