TheNigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit, Ikeja, Lagos, in its anti-smuggling operations in the month of February seized about 218 pieces of Elephant Tusks weighing 343 kg with a street value of N85,156,649.96 and 55 sacks of Pangolin Shells valued at N408 million.
At a Media Briefing in Ikeja, the Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba, said the intercepted contraband goods were intercepted as part of concerted efforts by government to ensure the survival of Elephants in the wild.
Throwing more light on the issue, the comptroller said his command was implementing the protocols and conventions of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES 1973) in order to protect wild life, noting that it was relying on the powers vested in the Customs Administration by the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45 to do so.
“It further prevents the killings of endangered species since the tusks are only available after the killing of the elephant and pangolin.
“In the spirit of interagency collaboration, the seized pangolin and tusks have been handed over to Nigeria Environmental Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA) for further investigation “.
Protecting wild life has, overtime, dramatically increased the responsibilities of the Nigeria Customs Service and the command is doing all in its power to ensure compliance.
He said other items seized by his enterprising officers included 18 assorted vehicles, 4, 201 bags of foreign parboiled rice, 2,619 cartons of frozen poultry products, 1,105 jerry cans of vegetable oil and 1,333 bales of used clothing, among others.
Within the same reporting period, the command generated N67,945,158.00 from Demand Notices raised on goods intercepted while smugglers were trying to beat the system through transfer of value and under declaration.
Comptr Garba noted that his command would not relent in its efforts to rid the society of economic saboteurs who delight in frustrating the efforts of government.
He disclosed that 17 suspects had been arrested in connection with the seizures including a Chinese national, Mr. K. O. Sin Ying.