Customs arrests Chinese for exporting N1.7bn pangolin scales

Customs arrests Chinese for exporting N1.7bn pangolin scales
Operatives of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service has arrested a Chinese national, Li Chaomin for attempting to export 329 sacks of pangolin scales with a Duty Paid Value of N1.7 billion.

The Unit had last month intercepted 55 sacks of the same pangolin and 218 pieces of elephant tusks, which were all handed over to Nigeria Environment Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA).

Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, at a news briefing in Lagos on Wednesday, said the consignment was seized in an apartment were the items were warehoused at 64 Opebi Road, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja Lagos following a tip – off.

Uba said the act is against the international convention law which prevents some species of animals from going into extinction through human activity.

“The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES 1973) entails that Customs Administration all over the world protects wildlife by intercepting illegal trade on such animals.  As you are aware, pangolins are the only known mammals that have large and protective keratin scales covering their skin. After a surge in poaching across Asia, the international illegal wildlife trade is now also a growing threat to African pangolin species. These scales were sourced from other African countries to be trafficked.

“The tragedy of the unsustainable demand for their body parts in the illegal wildlife trade, the better chance they have from being saved from extinction. It was based on that the World Pangolin Day was set aside globally to talk about pangolins and to help spread awareness about one of the world’s most vulnerable but least-known species.

This year’s Pangolin Day was held February 17, 2018 to that effect.

“For the avoidance of doubt, our action is in line with the provisions of Sections 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004,” he said.

The Chinese national, Chaomin said that he got approval from the Chinese Government to export the banned goods from Nigeria and after several efforts to obtain permission from the Ministry of Environment to export the animal scales failed, an official promised to give him the permit, which authorised him to export the goods. 

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