The Federal Operations Unit Zone” A" of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted 9,504.1 kilogramme of pangolin scales worth N10.2Billion in Lagos.
Addressing newsmen yesterday, the Comptroller General of Customs; Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) said the roving team of the Federal Operations Unit uncovered an abandoned warehouse at Isheri Estate Lagos where two units of 20ft containers were stacked.
The Customs CG said the containers were immediately evacuated to the premises Of FOU Zone ‘A’, in Ikeja where physical examination revealed 147 sacks weighing 9,504.1kg of pangolin scales worth Nl0,264,428,000.
He said Nigeria is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which categorizes Pangolin scales under absolute prohibition; therefore, its importation or trade is illegal globally.
He said that the service also seized a total number of 3,067 bags of smuggled foreign parboiled rice (50kg), 3,722 of 25 litres and 1,040 of 4.73 litres of foreign vegetable oil and 14 units of exotic vehicles.
The comptroller-general listed other items seized as: 575 pieces of used tyres, 703 cartons of foreign poultry products, 543 jerry cans of petroleum products and 416 bales of used clothing, among others.
He said that the items had a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N303,244,066.00, making a cumulative duty paid value of N10,567,672,066 within the month under review, Jan. 7 to Feb. 3.
The NCS boss said that the seizures underscore the determination of the service to enforce all laws relating to importation and exportation of goods, thereby contributing to the economy, security and wellbeing of every Nigerian.
He commended the Ag. Comptroller, FOU ‘A’, DC Usman Yahaya, and other members of the unit for a job well done, ”considering the fact that he took over barely a month ago.’’
Ali appealed to all well meaning Nigerians to support the service with information that could assist in discharging its statutory responsibilities in the interest of the nation.
“The borders are closed but not sealed and our men cannot be everywhere. These criminals go through creeks and various means to bring these items into the country.
“If they succeed in crossing the border and into Lagos, we will still go after them, and we are not relenting in our duty to stop smuggling into the country,” he said.