DC Attah in sun shade showing pressmen round the seizure.
Story by Dili Utomi.
STRIKE FORCE SEIZES 1,O14.5KG OF PANGOLIN SCALES AND CLAWS WORTH OVER #1.72B
The Zone ‘A’ Unit of the Controller General of Customs Strike Force has made a seizure of Pangolin scales and claws worth the the duty paid value of One Billion, Seven Hundred And Twenty Eight Million, Seven Hundred And Eighty Eight Thousand, Seven Hundred And Fifty Naira Only (#1,728,788,750.00)
This was disclosed at a press briefing today at the premises of the Strike Force at Ikeja by the Customs National Public Relations Officer, Deputy Controller of Customs Attah, Joseph who represented the CGC, retired Col. Hameed Ali. He said “Even though this criminality is not essentially a Nigerian thing, sadly some foreigners with active connivance of few Nigerians are bent on using our dear country as a transit rout for illegal wild life trade”.
You may recall that a few months ago, the Unit under the able headship of DC Shuaibu, Ahmadu seized some Pangolin scales and claws and Elephant tusks worth a staggering #22.2 billion which were about to be smuggled out of the country by some foreigners with the tacit connivance of some local persons; that particular case is being prosecuted at the courts.
The CNPRO addressing the press.
The CNPRO noted that in the course of further investigation and in trying to arrest other members of that gang, credible information was received from the same international partner- the Wildlife Justice Commission, intelligence operatives with the strike force were deployed as a SWAT team and one Mercedes Benz bus with the registeration number BGT 256 LG was intercepted along the Kudirat Abiola way, Oregun Ikeja and the 15 sacks of Pangolin scales plus 1 sack of Pangolin claws were recovered. He also disclosed that two suspects, Salif Sanwidi and Sunday Ebenyi were also arrested and will be charged to court soon.
The CNPRO left and DC Shuaibu right examining one of the bags containing pangolin scales.
DC Attah added that illegal wildlife trade contravenes section 63 “e” and “g” of the CEMA law Cap 45 LFN 2004 as he reiterated that Nigeria is a signatory to the Contravention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The CNPRO commended the Wildlife Justice Commission for their continued strong commitment to the course through the provision of credible and actionable intelligence, including technical aids. He also called on the general public to support the service by providing timely and credible information that will always help in crippling criminal networks of illegal trades throughout the country as he assured of strict confidentiality and swift action that yields positive results as in this case.
The showcased bags of Pangolin scales and claws.
Also speaking, an official of the Federal Ministry of Environment, who was there on the capacity of the National Focal Point on CITES, Mr Oluyemi Babajide said that at the completion of the prosecution processes, the seizures will be weighed and handed over to the Nigeria Environmental Safety Regulation and Enforcement Agency (NESREA). He said that the earlier seized pangolin scales and claws plus all the other animal parts will soon be destroyed in line with the laid down procedures.
Mr. Babajide said that the ministry is embarking on sensitisation programmes and part of it is the collaboration and results that we are presently seeing as people are getting to know more about what constitutes illegal specimens.
The CGC strike force has under the intelligent guidance of DC Shuiabu been carrying out massive seizures of animal parts that are internationally banned as they are committed to safeguarding endangered species, curbing illegal trade and promoting honest and legitimate trade.
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