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Customs Partners Wildlife Justice Commission To End Wildlife Trafficking

As part of the effort to mitigate illicit Wildlife trade and trafficking, Nigeria Customs Service in partnership with the Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) organised an awareness exercise centred on expertise, experience and best practice to combat transnational wildlife trafficking networks in Nigeria.

The maiden edition which focused on, one of the objectives of the Nigeria Customs Service Special Wildlife Office in enhancing the capacity of officers and men of the service as well as all critical stakeholders in fighting environmental crime, to achieve sustainability and improve competence, was chaired by the Nigeria Customs Service Legal Adviser, Smart Akande and held at the Wildlife office in Customs training college, Ikeja, Lagos for Nigeria Customs Service Prosecutors drawn from various Commands covering Airport, Seaport and Land borders.

According to Smart Akande, the essence of the exercise was to have an interaction with Wildlife Justice Commission. ” The essence of this exercise is for us to have an interaction, an interface with our partner, the WJC that has been partnering with us in respect of the tracking of these Wildlife traffickers and to have some training input into it; so that we can further enrich our knowledge in the area of prosecution and investigation to ensure that we can secure conviction in most cases, we have at hand.”

Describing the exercise as impactful and encouraging, he said the Wildlife Unit of the Service will not stop asking for more support from the Wildlife Justice Commission.

“Our achievement is to ensure that, we can upscale our capacity in respect of investigation and prosecution as regards Wildlife, which is an emerging crime, I thank every participant for their effort, contribution and patience during this exercise.” He added.

The theme for the workshop is Combating Trans-National Wildlife Trafficking Networks in Nigeria.

It will be recalled that in 2021 the Comptroller General of Customs at a media briefing in Lagos showcased a seizure of pangolin scales and elephant tusks worth 22.6 billion Naira and arrested three foreigners in connection with the seizure

It is pertinent to conclude that Nigeria Customs will continue to enforce schedule 6 of the Common External Tariff which identified endangered species as absolute prohibition for export. As a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of fauna and flora (CITES), the Service will not relent in its enforcement responsibilities by suppressing to the barest minimum the unsustainable and unethical exploitation of the nation’s fragile ecosystem and its biodiversity.

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