Customs nab 2 Chinese for smuggling Elephant Tusk
Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Command at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos yesterday arrested two Chinese nationals for attempting to smuggle elephant tusks and Pangolin out of the country.
The items, consisting 678 pieces of elephant tusks and eight sacks of Pangolin weighing over 381 kilogrammes, are prohibited under law. Export of such commodity, according to Customs, contravenes Schedule 6 of the Nigerian Exports Prohibition List, which prescribes as illegal, any attempt to export wild animals and endangered species.
Area Comptroller of the Command, Frank Nduka Allannah, told reporters that the smugglers had been remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Customs at the Lagos Airport pending further investigation. The impounded items, especially the Pangolin, which is said to be the most trafficked endangered animal, was meant for export where it would have been used for Chinese medicine.
According to Allannah, the impounded items will be handed over to the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA). He explained that officers at the Export Shed of the MMIA intercepted the prohibited items while the Chinese who claimed ownership of the items were trying to smuggle them out of the country. He added that upon physical examination of the items, the Chinese were subsequently arrested and are still in custody.
The Elephant tusks were in two compartments of 387 unprocessed pieces, while 271 had been processed into combs and hand bangles. Allannah, however, did not disclose the street value of the prohibited items, saying Customs personnel in the relevant units were already carrying out the monetary assessment to ascertain the value.
On further steps to be taken he said: “We do not intend to give the names of the smugglers yet. They have been arrested and are in Customs custody.”