The Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has announced the interception of sacks containing lion bones and pangolin billed for export to South Asian country, Vietnam.
The Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura, who confirmed the development to newsmen on Wednesday (yesterday), said the contraband items were concealed in a 20-feet container.
NCS revealed that the concealed items worth N952 million if sold. Naija News understands that elephant tusks, and a mix of endangered species’ bones and body parts of various sizes were also found in the container.
Abba-Kura while briefing newsmen on the interception of the container with number CSLU 2362640, revealed that the total weight of the items stood at 854,719 tonnes, valued at N952 million.
He said: “On January 21, based on credible intelligence, Customs operatives at the export seat of Apapa command, successfully detected and arrested one unit of 20-feet container which was processed for export and falsely declared as a furniture component.
“Immediately the container was opened, logs were seen in front, and upon 100 per cent physical examination of the container, elephant tusks, and the pangolin scales were seen concealed by the logs.”
He revealed further that the command had arrested an agent and another unnamed woman in connection with the ‘contraband’ items. The comptroller said that after due investigation, the customs service headquarters would take appropriate action against the suspects.
He said: “The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES 1973) entails that Customs Administration all over the world protect wildlife by intercepting illegal trade on such animals.
“Pangolins – scaly, shy and sensitive – are believed to be the world’s most trafficked nonhuman mammals accounting for as much as 20 per cent of all illegal wildlife trade.
“Their scales that are made of keratin (the material in fingernails) have no scientific proven curative properties but are in high demand for use in traditional Chinese medicine,” Abba-Kura added.
In another news, the Oyo State Security Network, popularly known as Amotekun, on Tuesday, intercepted thirteen people who were in possession of various dangerous weapons, Naija News reports.