Pangolin traffickers in Nigeria lost investment worth over N22 billion as officials of Nigerian Customs raided them, ENigeria Newspaper reports.
The Customs raid resulted in the seizure of a record amount of pangolin scales and claws, as well as elephant tusks, as the government strives to curb the trade in Nigeria, this newspaper understands.
“The seizure, valued 22 billion naira ($54 million), comprised 17,137 kg of pangolin scales, 44 kg of elephant tusks, and 60 kg of pangolin claws,” said Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali, comptroller-general of customs, in a statement seen by ENigeria Newspaper on Wednesday.
Authorities seized three foreign people during the raid, according to Comptroller Ali, and were chasing a fourth, whom he characterized as the mastermind of the operations in Nigeria.
“The culprits apprehended will get their court date shortly,” he said, adding that “the Nigerian Customs will leave no stone unturned to bring them to justice.”
According to law enforcement officials and wildlife specialists, Nigeria has become a hub for gangs transporting African pangolins to Asia.
Reuters in a story, blame insecure borders, insufficient law enforcement, corruption, and access to huge ports.
Ali said customs was collaborating with British, American, and German officials, as well as international organizations, to improve anti-smuggling efforts. The confiscation from Lekki, near Nigeria’s key ports in Lagos, was the result of this “extensive teamwork.”
According to ENigeria Newspaper findings, the pangolin, a shy, critically endangered animal, has become one of the most trafficked mammals on the planet due to demand for its scales in traditional Chinese medicine.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, seizures of pangolin scales, which are mostly obtained in Africa, increased tenfold between 2014 and 2018. (UNDOC).
According to the UNODC, 185 tonnes of scales were seized during that time, resulting in the deaths of over 370,000 animals.