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Suspects remanded over pangolin scales, elephant tusks smuggling

The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday remanded in prison custody three suspects including a Nigerian, Isiaka Musa, two Guineans, Traore Djakouba and Mohammed Berete, over allegation of smuggling N22.3bn worth of elephant tusks and pangolin scales.

The Nigeria Customs Service had arraigned the suspects in court on five count charges of conspiracy and attempt to export the items without lawful authority.

The Customs told the court that the offence contravened Section 64(1)(b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act, 2004.

Prosecution Counsel, Smart Akande, said the suspects are residents of No. 10, Ijeoma Odika Street, Atlantic View Estate, New Road, off Lekki-Ajah Expressway, Lagos.

Other suspects identified as Muyribein Bereye and Sediki Berete, were said to have been on the run after the arrest was made by the Customs operatives.

Justice Tijjani Ringim had ordered that the suspects be kept in prison custody until September 1.

This was after the prosecution lawyer opposed the bail application by the defense counsel, Mr Olayinka Lawal, saying it should be given time to respond to the defendants’ applications.

The suspects were arrested in July with 196 sacks of pangolin scales weighing 7137.40kg; one sack of pangolin claws weighing 4.60kg; and 29 sacks of elephant tusks weighing 870.4kg, worth N22.3bn. The items had been prepared for exportation before the arrest.

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