The Intelligence Unit and the Headquarters Strikeforce of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have seized kilogrammes of pangolin scales and elephant tusks at a location on Eastern side of Ijeoma street, Lekki, Lagos State.
Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retd) disclosed this during media briefing on Wednesday in Lagos.
He said proper examination of the sacks revealed 17,137.40kg of pangolin scales (196 sacks), 44kg of elephant tusks and 60kg of pangolin claws, adding that illegal wildlife worth N22,283,747,850.00.
Ali said the seizure is in-line with Section 63 “e” and “g” of CEMA, Cap 45 LFN 2004 as amended.
“It also falls under Export prohibition schedule VI of the extant Common External Tariff which prohibits their exportation. Nigeria is a signatory to CITES convention hence cannot be used as a transit hub.
“This feat is a testimony of what sincere collaboration between nations can achieve for our world, and individual nations in particular.
While thanking our partners, especially the Wildlife Justice Commission, the Nigeria Customs boss gave the assurances of the service’s determination to treat any and every information with utmost confidentiality and swift action(s) to stem this tide of illegality.
He said three suspects who are non-nationals – Mr. Traore Djakonba, Mr. Isiak Musa and Mr. Mohammed Bereta – have been arrested and the kingpin, Mr. Berete Morybinet is on the run.
Ali said security agencies at all entry and exit points are on red alert to track and arrest him to face justice. He advised him to surrender himself to the NCS.
The Comptroller-General said the suspects arrested will soon have their date in court as NCS will leave no stone unturned to bring them to justice.
He said same treatment will be extended to any person or organisation remotely or directly connected to this or any illegal wildlife trade.