The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in collaboration with Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) has intercepted 397.5kg of pangolin scales and arrested eight suspects, including three Vietnamese.
In a statement on Wednesday, Customs spokesman, Timi Bomodi said 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.
“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.
Bomodi said the seizure was the fourth major illegal wildlife seizure made in one year resulting from the strategic partnership between the Nigeria Customs Service, Wildlife Justice Commission and foreign governments.