… Arrest One Suspect
The Apapa Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service in its anti-smuggling exploits has on Tuesday announced the arrest and seizure of a 20feet container with registration number CSLU 2362640 at the export seat.
The container which was arrested based on credible intelligence was found to contain 162 sacks of pangolin scales and 57 sacks of mixed endangered species.
Briefing journalist at the Commands headquarters in Apapa, Lagos, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura disclosed that On Thursday, 21st January, 2021 based on credible intelligence, Customs Operatives at the Export seat of Apapa Command were successful at detecting and arresting one unit of 20 feet container which was processed for export and falsely declared as Furniture Components in an attempt to evade arrest.
He stated that upon 100% 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, lion bones etc destined for Haiphong, Vietnam.
Giving a breakdown of the seizure, Abba-Kura hinted that the total weight of the items seized stood at 854,719 tonnes and valued at Nine hundred and fifty-two million Naira (N952,000,000).
According to him, 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 nonhuman mammals, accounting for as much as 20% of all illegal wildlife trade.
He added that 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.
He hinted that experts has estimated that more than a million pangolins were poached from 2000 through to 2014 despite a 2017 ban on international commercial trade of the scales.
He however disclosed that one suspect has been arrested in connection to the seizure “Presently one suspect “Mr Felix Oname (m)” of No. 17 Chief Joseph Udeth Street, Egan Igando-Lagos is currently in detention and is being interrogated.
“After due investigation, the Service headquarters will take necessary action in line with environmental laws, guidelines, protocols, conventions and treaties on environment.
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″ he says.
He said further that the seizure is inline with schedule 6 of the Common External Tariff. To this end, all efforts will be geared towards ensuring that such dangerous and harmful environmental crimes are detected and prevented. Equally, all economic saboteurs will be made to face the full wrath of the law.