May 21, 2024

Eastern Marine Command Seizes Second Hand Shoes, Pangolin Scales, Others

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Eastern Marine Command Seizes
Second Hand Shoes, Pangolin Scales, Others

By Okezie Nnadi

The Eastern Marine Command of Nigeria Customs Service has made a significant breakthrough in combatting wildlife
trafficking by intercepting a substantial quantity of pangolin scales, elephant tusks and sacks of used second hand shoes. The seizure took place in the south-south coastal water-ways along Ibaka-Bakasi beach highlighting Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to the Convention On International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna And Flora (CITES).
The operation led by diligent officers of the command, resulted in the confiscation of a sizeable consignment of pangolin scales and elephant tusks amounting to 365.4 kg and six large sacks of used second hand shoes with a total duty paid value (DPV) of Six Hundred And Eighty Million, Two Hundred And Ninety Thousand, Four Hundred Naira Only (680,290,400.00) which are highly sought-after in illegal international markets. 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.
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. 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.

It should be noted that Nigeria customs service is a government agency responsible for facilitating legitimate trade , enforcing customs laws and combating illicit activities, including wildlife trafficking. The Customs Area Controller has reinvigorated and strengthened the patrol teams along the waterways for a 24hours patrol and combing the beaches. This
has yielded positive outcomes and leading to the significant seizure the command has just made.
Also, a highly productive stakeholder engagement parley organized by the Customs Area Controller was held at the
command’s headquarters in Portharcourt bringing together ship owners, agents and key stakeholders from the maritime sector.
The objective of the parley according to the Customs Area Controller was 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.
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.

The Customs Area Controller called on the general public to assist the command with more useful information on the trade of
illicit wildlife.

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