The Nigeria Customs Service, Eastern Marine Command, has made a significant breakthrough in combatting illicit wildlife trade by intercepting a substantial quantity of pangolin scales, elephant tusks, and sacks of used secondhand shoes.
Showcasing the seizures on Tuesday, 24th of October 2023, in Port Harcourt Rivers State, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Mike Ugbagu, restated that “the seizure of the pangolins scales and elephant tusks underscores the urgent need for concerted global efforts to combat wildlife trafficking.
The operation, which was led by diligent officers of the command, resulted in the seizure of 365.4 kg of pangolin scales and elephant tusks and six large sacks of secondhand shoes with a total duty paid value (DPV) of Six Hundred And Eighty Million Two Hundred And Ninety Thousand, Four Hundred Naira Only (680,290,400.00).
According to the Customs Area Controller, the items were seized in various south-south coastal waterways along Ibaka-Bakasi beach. Highlighting Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to the Convention On International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna And Flora (CITES).
“These heinous activities not only endanger vulnerable species but also contribute to organized crime and illicit financial flows. One of my commitments is to provide officers with the necessary tools and support to safeguard the Nation’s natural resources/habitat.” He added.
He, however, appreciated the management of the Nigeria Customs Service for deploying gunboats and logistic boats to the command, saying, “These additional resources greatly enhanced the command’s ability to patrol and secure the south-south coastal waterways effectively and combing the beaches effectively.”
While commending his officers for their dedication and professionalism in executing the operation, the CAC noted that the Eastern Marine Command under his watch will continue to intensify efforts in combating wildlife trafficking and protecting Nigeria’s natural heritage.
“This seizure of pangolin scales and elephant tusks sends a strong message to wildlife traffickers in the area that their activities will not be tolerated and they will face severe consequences for their illegal activities if caught.” He said.
He stated that the successful seizure of the wildlife products shows effective collaboration between the enforcement agencies, such as the Nigerian Navy and other agencies operating along the waterways of Ibaka-Bakasi beach.
He reiterated that Nigeria, as a responsible member of the international community, remains steadfast in its commitment to combating wildlife trafficking and preserving its rich biodiversity.