The Nigeria Customs Service in collaboration with Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) has intercepted 397.5 kilogramme (kg) of pangolin scales and arrested eight suspected Vietnamese nationals.
In a statement yesterday by Mr Timi Bomodi Public Relations Officer of Customs, three of the arrested suspects were identified as Vietnamese who were involved in the attempted trafficking of large amounts of pangolin scales and ivories through Nigeria.
Bomodi said: “Preliminary investigation revealed these three Vietnamese nationals as high-ranking members of a major organized crime group involved in the trafficking of ivory, pangolin scales, rhino horns and lion bones from Mozambique and South Africa through Nigeria to Vietnam. The three suspects were arrested while sourcing for pangolin scales in Nigeria, 397.5kg of which were found in their possession
“Through an intelligence-led operation, the collaboration between NCS and WJC led to the confiscation of 400kg of pangolin scales put up for sale on the illegal network. The two organizations were able to identify other members of the criminal syndicate for arrest,” he said.
He added that this is the fourth major illegal wildlife arrest in one year resulting from the strategic partnership between the Nigeria Customs Service, Wildlife Justice Commission and other foreign governments.