The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said it confisticated more than $900 million worth of Pangolin scales illegally traded through country in 2018.
Asst. Comptroller, Mutalib Sule of the NCS, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, made the disclosure at an event to mark the 2019 World Pangolin Day in Lagos.
The event which was organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Lekki, Lagos, in collaboration with the Pangolin Conservation Guild of Nigeria had the theme: “Pangolins and Politics’’.
Pangolin is a harmless African and Asian mammal with body covered with horny overlapping scales: It has a small head with an elongated snout.
It has a long sticky tongue for catching ants and termites and a tapering tail, as well as large protective keratin scales covering the skin. It is the only known mammal with this feature.
Asst. Comptroller-General Mutalib Sule of the Nigeria Customs Service while delivering a paper/session on “History of Confiscation, Current Challenges and Opportunities in Combating Pangolin Trafficking in Nigeria’’, during the 2019 World Pangolin Day event by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Lekki, Lagos and Pangolin Conservation Guild Nigeria.
“The summary of Pangolin seizure by the FOU Zone A under my superintendent in the year 2018 is 14,833 metric tonnes.
“My study across the world revealed that this is the highest seizure of Pangolin in the world.
“Japan came a distant second having made a seizure of 7.100kg of Pangolin in the same year with the estimated value of $450, 000.
“Going by this, Nigeria’s seizure under my watch cannot be less than $900million or even more,’’ Sule said.
The Assistant Comptroller-General of NCS, said that people engaged in illicit trade of Pangolins because of the benefits.
“Roasted pangolin scales are believed to cure cancer, relieve palsy and even stimulate breast milk.
“Pangolins are hunted for food, for use in traditional medicines and as fashion accessories; it is considered a delicacy in China, Vietnam and other parts of South East Asia. “The scales are prized $3,000 per kilogram, while the meat is $300 per kilogram. Live pangolin attracts $1,000 based on current black market prize, a kilogramme of pangolin is sold at $15,000…”