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Customs seized $900m worth of smuggled Pangolin in Nigeria in 2018

The Nigeria Customs
Service has disclosed that it made seizures of smuggled Pangolin worth over 900
million dollars in 2018.

Asst. Comptroller Mutalib
Sule of the NCS, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, made the
disclosure at an event to mark the 2019 World Pangolin Day on Wednesday in

The event which was organised by the Nigerian Conservation
Foundation, Lekki, Lagos, in collaboration with the Pangolin Conservation Guild
of Nigeria had the theme: “Pangolins and Politics’’.

Sule said: “The summary of Pangolin seizure by the FOU Zone
A under my superintendent in the year 2018 is 14,833 metric tonnes.

“My study across the world revealed that this is the highest
seizure of Pangolin in the world.

“Japan came a distant second having made a seizure of 7.100kg
of Pangolin in the same year with the estimated value of 450, 000 dollars.

“Going by this, Nigeria’s seizure under my watch cannot be
less than 900,000,000 million dollars or even more.’’

The assistant comptroller-general of NCS said that people
engaged in illicit trade of Pangolins because of the benefits.

He said: “Roasted Pangolin scales are believed to cure
cancer, relieve palsy and even stimulate breast milk.

“Pangolins are hunted for food, for use in traditional
medicines and as fashion accessories; it is considered a delicacy in China,
Vietnam and other parts of South East Asi

“The scales are prized 3,000 dollars per kilogram, while the
meat is 300 dollars per kilogram; live Pangolin attracts 1,000 dollars based on
current black market prize, a kilogramme of Pangolin is sold at 15,000 dollars.

“The mouth-watering price of the illicit trade largely
accounted for the business to boom and attract international attention; about
10,000 Pangolins are poached every year.’’

According to Sule, the NCS has been working hard to curtail
this act.

He said: “On February 12, 2018, the FOU patrol team led by my
humble self-went to a building located along Allen Avenue and confiscated 54
sacks of Pangolin scale and 218 pieces of elephant tusks.

“The Pangolin weighed 2001kg, while the elephant gave us 343kg;
a Chinese citizen was apprehended in connection with it and taken to court by
customs for prosecution.

“On March 3, another Chinese was arrested at a location off
Toyin Street; 329 sacks of Pangolin was discovered and evacuated; the sacks
gave us 8.492 metric tonnes.

“A second visit there gave us 78 sacks of Pangolin of 1,771
metric tonnes; also on July 22, 2018, around Lekki area of Lagos, 21 sacks of Pangolin and 4 pieces of elephant tusks were found stashed in a shop.

“On August 11 of the same year, we swooped on the den of some
Chinese nationals suspected to be engaging in the illicit trade; 10 sacks of Pangolin were found and evacuated; these gave us give us 738 metric tonnes.’’

He noted the need stop the poaching and trading of Pangolins
because it will affect the ecosystem and make the animals go into extinction,
especially as it is a rare species of mammal.

Sule also highlighted that some of the challenges that the
NCS face in its mission to seize and arrest culpable individuals in connection
with this highly profitable illicit trade of Pangolins.

According to the assistant comptroller general, the
challenges include dangerous terrains while making arrests, resistance,
attacks, poor reward system and lack of enforcement of laws against trafficking
as well as the judicial system.

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