The Nigeria Customs Service in collaboration with Wildlife Justice Commission has arrested eight suspects in connection with the interception of 397.5kg of pangolin scales.
A statement by the National Public Relations Officer, NCS Timi Bomodi, said three of the arrested suspects were identified as Vietnamese.
He said they were arrested while attempting to traffic large amounts of pangolin scales and ivories through Nigeria.
According to the statement, preliminary investigations revealed that the three Vietnamese nationals were high ranking members of a major organised crime group.
It stated, “Preliminary investigation revealed these three Vietnamese nationals as high-ranking members of a major organised 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. It is important to note that the Wildlife Justice Commission is an international body which works to disrupt and dismantle networks of illegal wildlife trade.”
According to the statement, the collaboration between NCS and WJC led to the confiscation of 400 Kg of pangolin scales put up for sale on the illegal network.
It stated, “Through an intelligence-led operation, the collaboration between NCS and WJC led to the confiscation of 400 Kg of pangolin scales put up for sale on the illegal network. The two organisations were able to identify other members of the criminal syndicate for arrest.
“To further put a stop to the environmental destruction posed by these unscrupulous elements, the arrested suspects have been charged to court on various counts bordering on the illegal trade in wildlife.”