The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in collaboration with Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC), has intercepted 397.5 Kilogramme of pangolin scales and arrested 8 suspects in connection with the seizure.
The Public Relations Officer, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi, disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday adding that three of the arrested suspects were identified as Vietnamese.
The suspects were involved in the attempted trafficking of large amounts of pangolin scales and ivories through Nigeria.
According to Bomodi, “Preliminary investigation revealed these three Vietnamese nationals as high-ranking members of a major organised crime group.
“They are involved in the trafficking of ivory, pangolin scales, rhino horns and lion bones from Mozambique and South Africa through Nigeria to Vietnam.
“The three suspects were arrested while sourcing for pangolin scales in Nigeria, 397.5kg of which were found in their possession,” he said.
Bomodi said the NCS, through an intelligence-led operation in collaboration with WJC, confiscated the 400 Kg of pangolin scales put up for sale on the illegal network.
WJC is an international body that works to disrupt and dismantle networks of illegal wildlife trade.
The Customs spokesman stated that the arrested suspects had been charged to court on various counts bordering on illegal trade in wildlife.
“These arrests came as part of a proactive enforcement operation targeting the top echelon of wildlife traffickers worldwide.
“They were assessed to have caused unprecedented disruptions to organised global wildlife trafficking network.
“This is the fourth major illegal wildlife arrest in one year resulting from the strategic partnership between the Nigeria Customs Service, Wildlife Justice Commission and other foreign governments.
“It demonstrates the commitment of the Nigeria Customs Service as a formidable ally in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
“Initial crackdowns in 2021 had resulted in discoveries of 7.1 tons of pangolin scales and 850 kilogrammes of ivory, all of which were seized by the Nigeria Customs Service,” he said.