By LOUIS IBAH
Officials of the Nigerian Customs Service ( NCS) have arrested two Chinese nationals at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport ( MMIA) Lagos for attempting to smuggle 678 pieces of elephant tusks and eight sacks of pangolin weighing over 381 kilogrammes out of Nigeria.
Exports of the items are considered a severe breach of the Nigerian law as they are listed among endangered species and wild life that should be protected and whose parts should never be traded under Schedule 6 of the Nigerian Exports Prohibition List.
Customs Area Comptroller of the MMIA Command, Frank Nduka Allannah told journalists that the two Chinese have been remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Customs at the Lagos Airport pending further investigation.
It was learnt that of the impounded items the scales of pangolin is viewed as the most trafficked endangered animal and that it is a much sought after part used in Chinese medicine.
According to Allannah, the impounded items will be handed over to the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency ( NESREA).
Allannah said vigilant Customs officials at the Export Shed of the Lagos international airport intercepted the prohibited items while they were about to be freighted out of Nigeria by the Chinese.
He said the Elephant tusks were in two compartments of 387 unprocessed pieces , while 271 had been processed into combs and hand bangles.
“ We do not intend to give the names of the Chinese nationals yet. They have been arrested and are in Customs custody. They will be handed over to the relevant security agencies,” he said. The Sun