By Steve Agbota
The CGC Strike Force, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday, said it arrested a 70-year-old man and his son, in connection with the seizure of 376.4kg of pangolin scales at Epe market in Lagos State.
The pangolin scales were meant to be smuggled out of the country before the men and officers of Customs intercepted them in different sizes of sacks.
Addressing journalists in Lagos yesterday, Coordinator, CGC Strike Force Team A, Mohammed Sani Yusuf, said a ban was imposed on the international trade on pangolins and their parts in the 2016 convention held in Flora South Africa.
“Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), some species of animals are conserved from going into extinction, hence, pangolin among other animals have been subjected to exploitation, which has continued till date, but little are known about their natural history and status which must be conserved.
“Campaigns and sensitisation on the poaching of pangolins must be intensified since it plays a dominant role on the ecosystem, thereby, protecting the forest from termites and other insect destructions,” he said.
However, he said the items seized from the month of October-November are worth a total duty paid value of N1,009 billion, adding that 1010 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, 376.4kg of pangolin scales, 100 cartons of red wine, 40 kg of Indian Hemp V. 58 bales of used clothing and 35 unit’s x 25 litres of jerry cans containing PMS are prominent among other seizures made within the period under review. He said two suspects were arrested in connection with some Customs offences during the period under review, both of them were released on administrative bail.
“In our efforts to prevent revenue loss through undervaluation, underpayments, and wrong classification. N537.905 million was collected following issuance of demand notices to defaulters.
“It would interest you to know that since our resumption till date, we have cumulatively generated N5.254 billion when compared with last year revenue of N3.588 billion, with difference of N1.666 billion, representing 32 per cent increment through demand notice, underpayment and wrong classification. We have also made a good number of seizures with a total DPV of N8.500 billion.
“Finally, as we intensify our efforts to continually seize smuggled items and arrest suspected perpetrators, it is our hope that these’ seizures, revenue recoveries, and arrests would serve as a deterrent to smugglers and duty evaders,” he added.