Massive interception of Pangolin scales and Elephant tusks by the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the Nigerian Customs Services has attracted global attention to the country and it’s strict compliance to a United Nation’s convention on endangered species.
Officers of FOU Zone ‘A’ Ikeja have recorded the highest seizure of Pangolin scales and Elephant tusk worth N10 billion in six months.
A worldwide ban on trade in Pangolin was unanimously agreed to at a meeting of the 181 nations including Nigeria on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in September 2016.
Prior to the ban, China legally imported some pangolin scales, mainly from Africa, for use in traditional Chinese medicine and the pharmaceutical industry.
However, to enforce the the world ban on the endanged animal, the officers of the FOU zone ‘A’ have made series of interceptions of Pangolin at different locations in Lagos.
The Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Compt. Mohammed Uba, commended the warehouse operation team under the leadership of Assistant Controller Mutalib Onsachi Sule who had made smuggling of Pangolin and Elephant tusk out of the country a tough and impossible one for Chinese nationals involved in the illegal trade in Nigeria.
According to a document from Customs, the warehouse operations team on the 14th of February evacuated Elephant tusk and Pangolin scales worth N2.3bn at a warehouse at Ikeja while on the 6th of March, another pangolin scale was intercepted by the same team at Opebi, Ikeja.
In another operation on March 9th, at another warehouse in Opebi the warehouse operation team once again intercepted N1.5b Pangolin scales while on the 1st of August, 21 sacks of pangolin and four pieces of elephant tusks estimated at N1.5 billion were intercepted at Oba Elegushi international market, Ajah.
A Customs source said that of the four operations carried out by the Mutalib led warehouse officers, Chinese nationals were behind the illegal possession and alleged exportation of pangolin scales in Nigeria.