By: Bisi Akingbade

The Federal Operations Unit, Zone B of Nigeria Customs Service today, Wednesday, 5th June 2024 disclosed that it has intercepted a consignment of 445,45kg of Pangolin scales and its derivatives worth N3.95 billion,  in Kebbi state.

The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Ahmadu Bello Shuaibu, in a press statement stated that "Acting on actionable intelligence the operatives storm a hideout known as (slaughter house) in the suburbs of Zuru Town in Kebbi State on Friday, May 24 2024 at about 1600hrs.  The team discovered and evacuated sacks of pangolin scales which were transported to the HQ of FOU Zone 'B' in Kaduna. 
After careful examination and counting, the pangolin scales  weighed 445.45kg.

"Let me once again explain that the pangolin specie is one of the endangered species that is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flaura (CITES).

"It is instructive that Nigeria is  signatory to the CITES Convention and all forms of trading in this species are clearly illegal.
The Nigeria Customs Service will continue to partner CITES to forestall the identified species from going into extinction.

"The value of this seizure at the International market is Three Billion, Nine Hundred and Fifty-Five Million, Five Hundred and Ninety-Six Thousand Naira (#3,955,596,000.00) only.

He confirmed the arrest of One (1) Suspect in connection with this seizure while the main suspect is currently at large. However, the Unit in collaboration with other sister agencies will not rest on its oars until the main suspect is arrested and brought to book. 

The offence contravene Section 55 (1) paragraph C and I of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Act 2023. 

Comptroller Shuaibu noted that the success of this operation lies in robust intelligence sharing between the NCS and Wild life Office and the resilience by  operatives of the Unit to leverage and utilize the coordinates given to them to make this arrest.
We wish to put it on record that the success of the operation is unique in that it was casualty free.

"From empirical evidence, we make bold to say that those involved in the illegal trafficking of endangered species are hiding under it to launder money used in procuring drugs, arms and other illegal merchandise. You can imagine the havoc this may have caused if it had escaped the eagle eyes of our operatives.

He, however call on the general public to continue to cooperate and stand with the NCS on its fight against smuggling in order to salvage the country.

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