Customs arrest ivory, pangolin scales traffickers

By Amarachi Okeh

The Nigeria Customs Service said it has arrested three men in Adamawa State for illegal transboundary wildlife trade in elephant ivory and pangolin scales and claws, two of the endangered wild animals in Nigeria.

The Customs said one of the suspects was intercepted and apprehended in Jimeta, Yola, with four sacks of ivory, weighing 89kg while two other suspects were arrested in Sangere, Girei Local Government Area of the state with five sacks of pangolin scales and claws, weighing 216kg.

The agency said the arrests were made last month, according to a statement by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“This is the first known arrest of wildlife traffickers of endangered animals in the transboundary region.  All three suspects are currently facing prosecution by the Nigeria Customs Service,” the WCS said.

The conservation society noted that the arrests were made possible following its training of the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency in the illegality of transboundary wildlife trade between Cameroon and Nigeria as well as raising awareness on the illegal trade.

The training, it said, was funded by the United Kingdom Biodiversity Challenge Fund.

The Counter Wildlife Trafficking Adviser with the Wildlife Conservation Society,Elisha Bello,  congratulated the NCS on the arrests made.

“We look forward to hearing more about the outcome of the prosecution as well as to further collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service,” he added.

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