The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced the interception of 52 units of elephant tusks in Mfum, a border town in Ikom LGA of Cross River. Ahmed Waziri, the area comptroller of the Cross River/Akwa Ibom command of NCS, disclosed during a press briefing in Calabar that the tusks, weighing 200kg, hold an estimated value of N300 million. The arrest was made as one Mohammed Ibrahim, a Cameroonian national, was apprehended with the illicit items en route to Lagos for further distribution.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the detained suspect, who also possessed a pistol with live ammunition, specialized in smuggling tusks across international borders. Waziri emphasized Nigeria’s commitment to combatting illicit trade, noting its status as a signatory to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). He emphasised the importance of border communities in maintaining vigilance, urging them to actively participate in preventing such illegal activities within their domains.
Highlighting the collaborative efforts of customs officers in apprehending the suspect and seizing the contraband, Waziri assured that the accused individual would face legal proceedings following the conclusion of investigations. He reiterated the significance of collective security responsibility, emphasizing the need for heightened awareness and cooperation among all stakeholders to curb the trafficking of endangered species.
As the suspect remains in custody and the confiscated items secured in government custody, the NCS continues its commitment to upholding regulatory standards and protecting wildlife resources.
IMAGE: Al bawaba