FOU Zone B Seizes Over ₦3.95 Billion Worth of Pangolin Scales in Major Anti-Smuggling Operation

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Comptroller Ahmadu Bello Shuaibu of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone B, Kaduna, updated the press on the unit’s recent anti-smuggling activities. Highlighting the ongoing efforts to curb illegal trading in endangered wildlife species, Comptroller Shuaibu emphasized the unit’s commitment to enforcing federal and international laws.

Reflecting on a previous briefing from May 21, 2024, Comptroller Shuaibu reiterated the unit’s firm stance against smuggling activities within the zone. He reported a significant success achieved in the past two weeks, specifically mentioning the interception of a substantial consignment of pangolin scales in Kebbi State.

Acting on precise intelligence, FOU operatives raided a known smuggling hideout in the suburbs of Zuru Town, Kebbi State, on Friday, May 24, 2024, around 16:00 hours. The operation led to the discovery and seizure of sacks containing pangolin scales, which were subsequently transported to the FOU Zone B headquarters in Kaduna. Upon examination, the seized pangolin scales weighed a total of 445.45 kilograms.

Comptroller Shuaibu underscored the importance of protecting pangolins, noting that they are classified as endangered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Nigeria, a signatory to CITES, strictly prohibits trading in pangolins and their derivatives. The seized scales have an estimated international market value of ₦3,955,596,000.00.

One suspect was arrested during the operation, while the main suspect remains at large. However, Comptroller Shuaibu assured that the unit, in collaboration with other agencies, will continue efforts to apprehend the primary suspect and bring them to justice. The offense contravenes Section 55 (1) paragraphs C and I of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Act 2023.

The success of this operation was attributed to effective intelligence sharing between the NCS and the Wildlife Office, and the meticulous execution by the unit’s operatives. Notably, the operation was completed without any casualties.

Comptroller Shuaibu highlighted the broader implications of smuggling endangered species, suggesting that such activities are often linked to money laundering for drugs, arms, and other illegal merchandise. The successful interception of the pangolin scales prevented potentially significant harm.

In his concluding remarks, Comptroller Shuaibu called for public support in the NCS’s fight against smuggling, urging citizens to collaborate in protecting the country’s wildlife and upholding the vision of Nigeria’s founding fathers. He reaffirmed the unit’s dedication to enforcing government policies in line with international best practices, despite any opposition.

The briefing concluded with a strong message of continued vigilance and collaboration in combating smuggling and preserving Nigeria’s natural heritage.

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