The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday said it arrested three suspected smugglers in connection with kilograms of pangolin scales and elephant tusks worth N22.3 billion in Lagos.
Speaking while displaying the seizure to newsmen in Lagos, the comtroller general of customs (CGC), Col. Hammed Ali (Retd.) said the 17,137.44 kilograms of pangolin scales (196 sacks), 870.44 kilograms of elephant tusks and 4.60 kilograms of Pangolin claws were evacuated at a location on the eastern side of Ijeoma Street, Lekki, Lagos. According to him, NCS’s extensive collaboration yielded credible intelligence that triggered swift and comprehensive actions by the customs intelligence unit and headquarters strikeforce.
He added that the seizures were in line with Section 63 “e” and “g” of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Cap 45 LFN 2004 as amended, adding that they fall 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.
“Already, three suspects who are non-nationals have been arrested. They are; Mr. Traore Djakonba, Mr. Isiak Musa and Mr. Mohammed Bereta. The kingpin, Mr. Berete Morybinet is on the run thinking he can evade the long arm of the law. Security agencies at all entry and exit points are on red alert to track and arrest him to face justice. He is therefore advised in his interest to surrender himself to the NCS,” he added.
However, he said, the suspects arrested would soon have their dates in court as the NCS would leave no stone unturned to bring them to justice. He said the service would extend the same treatment to any person or organisation remotely connected to this or any illegal wildlife trade.