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Eastern Marine Customs Intercepts N680m Elephant Tusks, Pangolin Scales From Smugglers


Operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service Eastern Marine Command have intercepted elephant tusks, pangolin scales and used shoes and sacks of used shoes from smugglers along Ibaka -Bakassi Beach in Akwa Ibom.

Customs Area Controller of the command , Comptroller Mike Ugbagu who disclosed this recently in Calabar, described the seizures as a remarkable progress in the fight against trafficking in endangered species.

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According to the Controller , the seizure of elephant tusks weighing 364.4kg and the pangolin scales underscores Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to the Convention On International Trade In Endangered Species (CITES) which Nigeria is a signatory.

 


A press release by Emmanuel Tangwa, Customs Public Relations Officer of the command stated the total duty payable value at N680,290,400.

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Tangwa , a Superintendent of Customs said the prohibited wildlife products are highly ought-after in illegal international markets.

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He quoted his Controller saying “This interception represent a significant blow to the illicit trade of these endangered species, reinforcing Nigeria’s determination to protect its wildlife and fulfil its obligation under the CITES convention”.

“The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Mike Ugbagu is thankful to the management of the Nigeria Customs Service for deploying gunboats and logistic boats to the command. These additional resources greatly enhanced the commands ability to patrol and secure the south-south coatsal waterways effectively and combing the beaches effectively. The Eastern Marine command CAC reiterates his commitment to provide officers with the necessary tools and support needed to safeguard the Nations natural resources /habitat.

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“The seizure of the pangolins scales and elephant tusks underscores the urgent need for concerted global efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. These heinous activities not only endanger vulnerable species but also contribute to organize crime and illicit financial flows. Nigeria, as a responsible member of the international community, remains steadfast in its commitment to combating wildlife trafficking and preserving its rich biodiversity. The Customs Area Controller commend his officers for their dedication and professionalism in executing this operation.

 

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“The successful seizure of these wildlife products showcases the effectiveness of collaborative efforts between the enforcement agencies which the Customs Area Controller sought for with 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.

 

“Comptroller Mike Ugbagu reiterates that the Eastern Marine Command under his watch will continue to intensify its efforts in combating wildlife trafficking and protecting Nigeria’s natural heritage. This 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 for their illegal activities if caught” he said in the release

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At an enlarged stakeholders meeting in Portharcourt, Comptroller Ugbagu called for cooperation to avoid non compliance with the law

 

The objective of the parley, according to the Customs Area Controller is to discuss and streamline the process of carrying out proper documentation of temporary importation papers, thereby enhancing the ease of doing business in the maritime industry in the south-south waterways. This parley showcase a strong commitment to facilitating international trade and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirement. Ship owners, agent and representatives from various maritime enterprises actively participated in the discussions, sharing their experiences, challenges and valuable insights.

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The event served as a platform for open dialogue and constructive engagement, allowing stakeholders to address common issues and propose practical solutions for improving the documentation process of temporary importation papers. The stakeholders were happy with the Customs Area Controller for such a meeting has not been held for a long time in the command.



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