Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Customs Intercepts Pangolin Scales, Used Shoes Worth ₦680m

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The Eastern Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), over the weekend, said it made a significant breakthrough in combatting wildlife trafficking by intercepting pangolin scales, elephant tusks and sacks of used shoes worth ₦680 million.

The seizure which took place in the South-South Coastal Water-ways along Ibaka-Bakasi beach highlighted Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to the Convention On International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna And Flora (CITES).

The operation resulted in the confiscation of a sizeable consignment of pangolin scales and elephant tusks amounting to 365.4 kg and six large sacks of used second hand shoes with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of ₦680million which are highly sought-after in illegal international markets.

This interception represent a significant blow to the illicit trade of these endangered species, reinforcing Nigeria’s determination to protect its wildlife and fulfil its obligation under the CITES convention.

The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller, Mike Ugbagu, was thankful to the management of the service for deploying gunboats and logistic boats to the Command.

These additional resources greatly enhanced the Commands ability to patrol and secure the South-South Coastal Water-ways effectively and combing the beaches effectively. The Eastern Marine Command CAC reiterated his commitment to providing officers with the necessary tools and support needed to safeguard the Nations natural resources /habitat.

According to the Command, the seizure of the pangolins scales and elephant tusks underscored the urgent need for concerted global efforts to combating wildlife trafficking.

These heinous activities not only endanger vulnerable species but also contribute to organized crime and illicit financial flows. Nigeria, as a responsible member of the international community, remains steadfast in its commitment to combating wildlife trafficking and preserving its rich biodiversity.

The Customs Area Controller commended his officers for their dedication and professionalism in executing the operation. The successful seizure of these wildlife products showcased the effectiveness of collaborative efforts between the enforcement agencies which the Customs Area Controller sought for with the Nigerian Navy and other agencies operating along the waterways of Ibaka-Bakasi beach in curbing the illegal wildlife trade and other forms of smuggling.

Comptroller Mike Ugbagu reiterated that the Eastern Marine Command under his watch would continue to intensify its efforts in combating wildlife trafficking and protecting Nigeria’s natural heritage.

The seizure of pangolin scales and elephant tusks sent a strong message to wildlife traffickers in the area that their activities will not be tolerated as they will face severe consequences for their illegal activities if caught.

According to the Command, the Customs Area Controller has reinvigorated and strengthened the patrol teams along the waterways for a 24hours patrol and combing of beaches. This has yielded positive outcomes and led to significant seizures recorded by the Command However, a highly productive stakeholder engagement parley organized by the Customs Area Controller was held at the Command’s headquarters in Portharcourt bringing together ship owners, agents and key stakeholders from the maritime sector.

The objective of the parley according to the Customs Area Controller was to discuss and streamline the process of carrying out proper documentation of temporary importation papers, thereby enhancing Ease of Doing Business(EODB) in the maritime industry in the South-South waterways.
This parley showcased a strong commitment to facilitating international trade and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirement.

Ship owners, agents and representatives from various maritime enterprises actively participated in the discussions, sharing their experiences, challenges and valuable insights.

The event served as a platform for open dialogue and constructive engagements, allowing stakeholders to address common issues and propose practical solutions for improving the documentation process of temporary importation papers. The stakeholders were happy with the Customs Area Controller for such a meeting has not been held for a long time in the Command.

Finally, the Customs Area Controller called on the general public to assist the Command with more useful information on the trade of illicit wildlife.

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