The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has said that it intercepted 397.5kg of pangolin scales, and arrested 8 Suspects in connection with the seizure.
According to the Service’s Public Relations Officer, DC Timi Bomodi, who disclosed this in a statement Wednesday, 3 August, the arrest was made with collaborative efforts from the Wildlife Justice Commission, WJC, an international body working to disrupt and dismantle illegal wildlife trade networks.
TheFact Daily gathers that the suspects, three of whom are Vietnamese nationals, were involved in the attempted trafficking of large amounts of pangolin scales and ivories through Nigeria.
The Vietnamese nationals, preliminary investigation revealed, are high ranking members of a major organised crime group involved in the trafficking of ivory, pangolin scales, rhino horns and lion bones, from Mozambique and South Africa through Nigeria to Vietnam.
They were arrested while sourcing for pangolin scales in Nigeria, and 397.5kg of the item was found in their possession. They have been charged to Court on various counts bordering on the illegal trade in wildlife.
Bomodi disclosed that the arrest, the fourth major illegal wildlife arrest in one year, resulted from the strategic partnership between the NCS and the WJC, whose proactive enforcement operations targeting the top echelon of wildlife traffickers nationwide, has been assessed to have caused unprecedented disruptions to organized global wildlife trafficking networks.
“Initial crackdowns in 2021 had resulted in discoveries of 7.1 tons of pangolin scales and 850kg of ivory, all of which were seized by the NCS”, Bomodi’s statement said.
The Comptroller General of NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), while commending officers of the Service for thier efforts in breaking the chain of illegal wildlife trade and unlawful deforestation and tree felling activities assured the public that the Service will leave no stone unturned in its efforts to support the rest of the world in protecting endangered species and prevent deforestation.
“NCS will never allow perpetrators of these crimes to profit from it or escape the wrath of the law”, the Customs Boss assured.
Pangolins are scaly mammals hunted for their meat and for use in traditional medicine as well as fashion accessories, particularly in China and Vietnam. The large scale illegal trade is slowly driving down thier numbers and pangolin trafficking is a huge and illegal business.