The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in briefing the Press on Monday 4th October 2021, at the premises of the Customs Training College in Ikeja, Lagos reiterated its resolve in clamping down on the perpetrators of illegal wild life trade in Nigeria. The National Public Relations Officer of NCS, Deputy Comptroller Joseph O. Attah who represented the Comptroller General of the NCS at the press briefing, and who was accompanied by the Deputy Comptroller Shuaibu – Team leader of the Headquarters Strike Force and his men, told the Press that though this criminality in the illegal wildlife trade is essentially not a Nigerian thing, sadly enough some foreigners with active connivance of few Nigerians are bent on using Nigeria as a transit route for this illicit trade.
He referred to the Seizure of wildlife made by NCS two months ago acting on credible intelligence provided by an international partner, which he said was estimated to be worth about N49 billion, and for which the arrested suspects are currently facing prosecution. it was also said that in the course of further investigation into the case to arrest other members of the gang, the NCS received another credible intelligence from the same international partner – wild life justice commission, that intelligence operatives with the Strike Force were swiftly deployed leading to the interception of a Mercedes Benz Bus with registration number BGT 256 LG along Kudirat Abiola Way Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos. Upon examination, the bus was found to contain several sacks of Pangolin Scales cumulatively weighing 1,009.5kg and a sack of Pangolin Claws weighing 5kg, making a total of 1,014.5kg (Over One Metric Tonne) of Pangolin wildlife parts with duty paid value (DPV) of N1,728,788,750.00. As in the other seizure, DC Joseph Attah said that two suspects – Mr. Salif Sanwidi and Mr. Sunday Ebenyi, have already been arrested in connection with the seizure and will accordingly be charged to court soon to answer for their crime.
For the avoidance of doubt, he also made it clear that illegal wild life trade contravenes Section 63 e and g of CEMA Cap 45 LFN 2004 and that Nigeria as a responsible member of the global community and as a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora cannot allow herself to be used as a conduit pipe for this illegal trade. He said Nigeria remain committed to the quarterly meetings with embassies of the USA, UK and Germany, and would welcome on board other International organizations that want to join in the fray.
He seized the opportunity to specially thank and commend the Wild Life Justice Commission for its continued strong commitment to this course through provision of credible and actionable intelligence, including technical aid. He said that the NCS appreciates this working synergy and looks forward to more in the future.