Nigeria Customs Arrests Chinese With 281 Elephant Tusks, others worth N1.7bn
Lagos, Nigeria. March 8, 2018 (AltAfrika)-The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone A has arrested a Chinese national for being in possession of banned item, Pangolins in Lagos
The unit in February evacuated 55 sacks of the same pangolin and 218 pieces of elephant tusks, which were all, handed over to NESREA.
According to the customs area controller, Garba Umar, the unit intercepted the contraband on Monday after a credible intelligence report
.“On Monday March 5, 2018, at about 1600hrs, the Warehouse Operations Team led by assistant comptroller , Mutalib Sule searched an apartment at No. 64 Opebi Road, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja Lagos and evacuated the following after physical examination, 329 sacks Of Pangolin Scales weighing 8,492kg with a duty paid value of N1.73 billion,” he said.
He also disclosed that another Chinese was arrested in connection with the seizure. “Mr. Li Chaomin, a Chinese national was apprehended in connection to this seizure, making it two Chinese nationals in a row in relations to goods banned for export.
The Convention of International Trade in Endangered species (CITES 1973) entails that Customs Administration all over the world protects wildlife by intercepting illegal trade on such animals. “As you are aware, Pangolins are the only known mammals that have large and protective keratin scales covering their skin. After a surge in poaching across Asia, the international illegal wildlife trade is now also a growing threat to African pangolin species. These scales were sourced from other African countries to be trafficked.
“The tragedy of the unsustainable demand for their body parts in the illegal wildlife trade, the better chance they have from being saved from extinction. It was based on that the World Pangolin Day was set side globally to talk about pangolins and to help spread awareness about one of the world’s most vulnerable but least-known species. This year’s Pangolin Day was held February 17 to that effect.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our action is in-line with the provisions of Sections 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (power to search premises). The seized items and the suspect will be handed over to Nigeria Environment Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA) for further investigation in collaboration towards protecting our natural habitat and protecting our endangered species just as you witnessed last week,” he said.
Speaking to newsmen, the arrested Chinese national, Mr. Li Chaomin alleged that he got approval from the Chinese Government to export the banned goods from Nigeria and after several efforts to obtain permission from the ministry of environment to export the animal scales failed, an official promised to give him the permit which authorised him to export the goods.