February 16, 2018

Chinese Man Intercepted In Lagos For Smuggling N494m Worth Of Elephant Tusks




The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone 'A' of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has apprehended a Chinese man who kept sacks of elephant tusks and pangolin shells with a combined duty paid value of N493.5m at his residence in Lagos.


The Chinese suspect, Mr. Kio Soi-Ying, was intercepted and detained in connection with the items found at his apartment at No 38 Ogundairo Street, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos. An investigation is currently ongoing.

Parading the suspect and his items at the FOU headquarters in Ikeja on Thursday, the Unit's Custom Area Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Garba on Thursday told newsmen in Lagos that the warehouse operations team of the Federal Operation Unit led by Assistant Comptroller Mutalib Sule made the seizure at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday, February 13.

He said the seizures comprised 55 sacks of pangolin shells weighing 2,001 kilogrammes and valued at N408.32m and 218 pieces of elephant tusks weighing 343kg and valued at N85.2m.

Comptroller Garba revealed that the team, acting on intelligence received the previous day, had mounted surveillance on the area and on a tip-off, raided the apartment, where the gatekeeper confirmed the occupant to be a Chinese national.

The Customs Chief explained further that the pangolin shell was a product of an endangered species of mammals. He said that they were prohibited under schedule 6 of the Common External Tariffs (CET). He added that the section emphasized that wildlife animals classified endangered species were not allowed to be exported.

He said: "The United Nations charter on the preservation of endangered species entails that Customs administrations globally protect wildlife by intercepting illegal trade on such animals. It further prevents the killings of endangered species since the tusks are only available after the killing of the elephant or pangolin."

He further revealed that the seized items will be handed over to the Nigeria Environmental Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA).

The Chinese suspect, who spoke through an interpreter denied knowledge and ownership of the items.

"The goods were not found in my house. Customs arrested me in my house at No 4 Ondo Close and brought me to their office. I just saw the goods in the Customs' patrol vehicle," Soi Ying said.

The lawyer to Soi Ying also claimed the goods were brought from another place, not his client's apartment.

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