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Nigeria Customs seizes pangolin scales worth over N3bn

The Federal Operations Unit “B” of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has seized pangolin scales worth over N3 billion in a significant crackdown against illegal wildlife trade.

The Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone “B”, Comptroller Shuaibu Ahmadu, made this known at a news conference held on Wednesday in his office in Kaduna.

He disclosed that NCS operatives, acting on intelligence, raided a hideout known as “slaughterhouse” in the suburbs of Zuru Town, Kebbi State, on Friday, May 24, 2024.

He said that during the raid, the team discovered and evacuated sacks of pangolin scales, which were subsequently transported to the FOU Zone ‘B’ headquarters in Kaduna.

The scales, upon examination, weighed 445.45kg and had a duty-paid value (DPV) of N3.955 billion.

Ahmadu, who said “this operation underscores the unit’s commitment to curb smuggling and protect endangered species”, emphasised that “pangolin is a protected specie under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which Nigeria is a signatory.”

He said all forms of trade involving this species are illegal, adding that “one suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure, while the main suspect remains at large.”

The comptroller, however, assured that the unit, in collaboration with other agencies, will continue its efforts until the main suspect is apprehended and prosecuted.

“This offense contravenes Section 55 (1), paragraphs C and I of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Act 2023,” he stated. The success of this operation is due to robust intelligence sharing between the NCS and the Wildlife Office and the dedication of our operatives.”

The comptroller also noted that illegal trafficking of endangered species is often linked to money laundering activities involving drugs, arms, and other contraband.

“The potential harm this could have caused if it had not been intercepted is unimaginable,” he added.

He called on the public to support the NCS in its fight against smuggling, urging collective effort to protect the country’s resources and achieve the vision of Nigeria’s founding fathers.

Ahmadu reaffirmed the unit’s commitment to enforcing federal government policies in line with international best practices, regardless of any opposition to their operations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report that Pangolins are killed and trafficked in great numbers because their scales are used in traditional Asian medicine

NAN also reports while their meat is considered a luxury food in many parts of Asia, the skin and other parts are used for various purposes such as fashion.


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