The Controller of Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A, Ikeja, of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Mohammed Uba, on Wednesday, opened up on why the command is now searching every suspected compound housing banned items in Nigeria.
Addressing editors in his office, he said “For the avoidance of doubt, our action is in-line with the provisions of Sections 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (power to search premises)”.
Earlier Uba disclosed that “On Monday 5th March 2018 at about 1600hrs, the Warehouse Operations Team led by Assistant Comptroller Mutalib Sule while on credible intelligence again searched an apartment at No. 64 Opebi Road, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja Lagos and evacuated the 329 sacks Of Pangolin Scales weighing 8,492kg with a duty paid value of N1,732,857,393.96 Only.
He said during the raid, one Mr. Li Chaomin, a Chinese national was apprehended in connection to this seizure, making it two Chinese Nationals in a roll in relations to goods banned for export.
Business Hilights recalls that in the month of February also we evacuated 55 sacks of the same pangolin and 218 pieces of elephant tusks, which were all, handed over to NESREA.
Uba added that “The Convention of International Trade in Endangered species (CITES 1973) entails that Customs Administration all over the world protects wild life by intercepting illegal trade on such animals. As you are aware, Pangolins are the only known mammals that have large and protective keratin scales covering their skin. After a surge in poaching across Asia, the international illegal wildlife trade is now also a growing threat to African pangolin species. These scales were sourced from other African countries to be trafficked”.
Continuing, the Customs Comptroller averred that “The tragedy of the unsustainable demand for their body parts in the illegal wildlife trade, the better chance they have from being saved from extinction. It was based on that the World Pangolin Day was set side globally to talk about pangolins and to help spread awareness about one of the world’s most vulnerable but least-known species. This year’s Pangolin Day was held February 17 to that effect”.
“The seized items and the suspect will be handed over to Nigeria Environment Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA) for further investigation in collaboration towards protecting our natural habitat and protecting our endangered species just as you witnessed last week.
Uba used the briefing to appreciate the determination and resilience of Customs officers that have put their lives on the line while performing their statutory responsibilities most especially in anti-smuggling operations, which is yielding positive result