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Cooperation key to ending illicit wildlife in Nigeria

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To end Nigeria being source and transit hub for illicit wildlife products requires the cooperation of multiple stakeholders within and beyond Nigeria, including Customs, Police and National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESRA), as well as the World Customs Organisation, Interpol, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) has said.

In a statement signed by its Outreach and Communications Officer, Mr. Sylvester Atere, to mark World Wildlife Day, celebrated every March 3, UNODC said building specialised detection and investigation capabilities within the relevant law enforcement agencies takes time and is resource intensive.

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It said: “Late January this year, more than US$8 million worth of elephant tusks and pangolin scales were confiscated by Hong Kong Customs from a shipping container coming from Nigeria, making this the biggest seizure of pangolin scales, by value and weight, ever in the city.

Another incident back in October 2018 led Vietnamese authorities to intercept more than eight metric tons of pangolin scales and ivory, also arriving from Nigeria.”

It revealed that over the past 12 months, 25 tons of ivory and pangolin scales were seized in Asia, which allegedly originated from Nigeria, while 13 tons of pangolin scales were seized in Nigeria.

According to UNODC’s World Wildlife Crime Report (2016), whole pangolins in Nigeria can range in price from US$7 to US$15, while their scales alone would sell for as much as US$250 per pangolin in the destination markets.

“Pangolins smuggled to Asia are unlikely to originate from Nigeria, as the species is near extinction in the country. However, it appears that Nigeria might risk evolving rapidly into a transit hub for illicit wildlife products, including pangolins, elephant tusks and other protected species, destined for countries in Asia as well as Europe, the Middle East and North and South America.”


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