The Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted 52 units of elephant tusks in Mfum, a border town of Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River.
The Area Comptroller of Cross River/CFTZ/Akwa Ibom Command of the NIS, Ahmed Waziri, said this at a news conference in Calabar on Monday.
Waziri said the arrest was made by the operatives of the NIS in Mfum on Thursday, adding that the tusks weighing 200kg were valued at N300 million.
He said that a Cameroonian, Mohammed Ibrahim, was arrested with the items, saying that the suspect was suspected to be on his way to Lagos for onward transportation of the items to another location when he was apprehended.
He said that preliminary investigation had revealed that the suspect specialised in the exportation of the tusks across international borders.
The Comptroller noted that the suspect was apprehended with a Honda SUV truck with number plate FST 733 HH.
He said that a pistol with live ammunition was also discovered inside the truck.
“The suspect has two Nigeria number plates (Lagos): FST 733 HH and (CMR) LT 214 AY. A service pistol was discovered inside the vehicle with live ammunition.
“This arrest should be a warning that Nigeria will not be used as a transit route for illicit products.
“They should also know that Nigeria is a signatory to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), an international agreement between governments.
“It is important our border communities wake up and live up to their responsibilities because many of such items pass through their domain in most cases without their knowledge,” he said.
Waziri added, “The communities have a role to play, as security is everybody’s business, so we must be vigilant.
“The suspect carried those items from Cameroon using Nigeria as a transit route probably to his final destination.
“The suspect is with us, and the goods are at the government warehouse.
“I want to commend my eagle-eyed officers at Mfum for being able to intercept those items worth over N300 million and also apprehending the suspect.
“Our legal unit is already on the matter, and he will be charged to court immidiately we complete our investigations.:
On Friday, February 9, NIS said it arrested three men for alleged illegal export of elephant tusks to Asia.
The men were arrested at different locations in Lagos between January 25, 2024, and February 4 and 6, 2024, for allegedly facilitating the sale and export of five pieces of elephant tusk, weighing 25.35kg, and worth about $16,000 equivalent (N23,520,000).
Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines