The Eastern Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has achieved a commendable milestone in the fight against wildlife trafficking by intercepting a significant quantity of pangolin scales, elephant tusks, and sacks of used second-hand shoes. The interception took place in the south-south coastal waterways along the Ibaka-Bakasi beach, underscoring Nigeria’s steadfast commitment to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The operation, carried out by diligent officers of the Eastern Marine Command, resulted in the confiscation of a substantial consignment of pangolin scales and elephant tusks, totaling 365.4 kg. Additionally, six large sacks of used second-hand shoes were seized, with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of Six Hundred And Eighty Million, Two Hundred And Ninety Thousand, Four Hundred Naira Only (680,290,400.00). These illicit items are in high demand in illegal international markets, making this interception a significant blow to the illegal trade of endangered species. It reinforces Nigeria’s determination to protect its wildlife and fulfill its obligations under the CITES convention.
The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Mike Ugbagu, expressed gratitude to the management of the Nigeria Customs Service for deploying gunboats and logistic boats to the command. These additional resources significantly improved the command’s ability to effectively patrol and secure the south-south coastal waterways and beaches. Comptroller Mike Ugbagu reaffirmed his commitment to providing officers with the necessary tools and support needed to safeguard the nation’s natural resources and habitat.
The seizure of pangolin scales and elephant tusks highlights the pressing need for concerted global efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. These illegal activities not only jeopardize vulnerable species but also contribute to organized crime and illicit financial flows. As a responsible member of the international community, Nigeria remains steadfast in its commitment to combating wildlife trafficking and preserving its rich biodiversity.
Comptroller Mike Ugbagu commended his officers for their dedication and professionalism in executing this operation. The successful seizure of these wildlife products exemplifies the effectiveness of collaborative efforts between enforcement agencies, particularly the Nigerian Navy and other agencies operating along the waterways of Ibaka-Bakasi beach, in curbing the illegal wildlife trade and other forms of smuggling.
The Eastern Marine Command, under Comptroller Mike Ugbagu’s leadership, will continue to intensify its efforts in combating wildlife trafficking and protecting Nigeria’s natural heritage. The seizure of pangolin scales and elephant tusks sends a strong message to wildlife traffickers in the area that their activities will not be tolerated, and they will face severe consequences if caught.
It’s worth noting that the Nigeria Customs Service is a government agency responsible for facilitating legitimate trade, enforcing customs laws, and combating illicit activities, including wildlife trafficking. The Customs Area Controller has revitalized and strengthened patrol teams along the waterways for 24-hour surveillance and beach combing, yielding positive results, including the significant seizure made recently.
Furthermore, a highly productive stakeholder engagement meeting organized by the Customs Area Controller brought together ship owners, agents, and key stakeholders from the maritime sector. This meeting aimed to streamline the process of proper documentation of temporary importation papers, thereby enhancing the ease of doing business in the maritime industry in the south-south waterways. It signifies a strong commitment to facilitating international trade and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.
The Customs Area Controller encourages the general public to provide the command with valuable information related to the illicit wildlife trade.