The CAC APAPA Area Command, Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura with some officials and the seized container.
The export unit of the Apapa Area Command, Nigeria Customs Service has detected and confiscated a unit of 20 feet container marked NO. CSLU 2362640” which was falsely declared as “furniture components”, but which contained various parts of different animals.
The Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura in a press briefing indicated that the container was found to be loaded with “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”.
The total weight of the items stood at 854,719 tonnes and valued at Nine hundred and fifty-two million Naira (N952,000,000).
Compt. Abba-Kura noted that “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 are scaly, shy, and sensitive animals, but are believed to be the world’s most trafficked nonhuman mammals, accounting for as much as 20% 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 a 2017 ban on international commercial trade of the scales, experts
estimate that more than a million pangolins were poached from 2000 through to 2014″. It will be recalled that at various times, the NCS has impounded containers loaded with varying amounts of Pangolin scales worth millions of Naira over the years and in spite of these confiscation, those involved in the illegal trade have continued in the act without any care whatsoever.
A suspect, Joseph Oname has been arrested in connection with the seizure and is currently at the Customs Headquarters undergoing further investigation for proper prosecution.
The CAC promised that ” all efforts will be geared towards ensuring that such dangerous and harmful environmental crimes are detected and prevented and that all economic saboteurs will
be made to face the full wrath of the law” he concluded.