Customs Eastern Command Intercept various Goods Worth N680.29m

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By Innocent Orok

The Eastern Marine Command of Nigeria Customs Service has made significant breakthrough in combatting wildlife trafficking by intercepting a substantial quantity of pangolin scales, elephant tusks and sacks of used second hand shoes.
The Command made the seizures within the South-South coastal waterways along Ibaka-Bakasi beach.

According to a press statement from NE TANGWA Superintendent of Customs and Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Marine Command , the operation was led by diligent officers of the command, which 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 N680,290,400.

He said the items 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, Eastern Marine Command, Comptroller Mike Ugbagu said 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 coastal 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”, Ugbagu said.

He also 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”, the statement said.

Also, a highly productive stakeholder engagement parley organized by the Customs Area Controller was held at the command’s headquarters in Port Harcourt 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, Agents and their 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 calls on the general public to assist the command with more useful information on the trade of illicit wildlife.

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