Issued on: 27/01/2021 – 12:42
Nigeria has confiscated pangolin scales, tusks and bones from endangered species allegedly for export to Vietnam, a senior customs officer said on Wednesday.
Pangolin scales have traditionally been used in China for a number of diseases, including treating blood clots, although there is no scientific evidence that they have medicinal value.
Studies have also shown that the pangolin may have been the intermediate host that transmitted the coronavirus to humans when it first appeared in a damp market in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
The Nigerian items, which were hidden in a container as furniture material, were intercepted by customs officials in the port of Apapa in Lagos on January 21, area manager Mohammed Abba-Kura told AFP.
“Immediately the container was opened, logs were seen in the front, and 100 percent physical examination of the container revealed elephant tusk and pangolin scales obscured by the logs,” he said.
“The items mistakenly labeled as furniture included 162 bags of shed … and 57 bags of mixed endangered species of various sizes such as ivory / animal horns, lion bones and others,” he said.
The total distance weighed 8,800 kilograms, he said.
Abba-Kura said the items on the black market were valued at 952 million naira ($ 2.5 million).
He said the shipment was on its way to Haiphong, Vietnam before it was intercepted, adding that a suspect had been arrested for the shipment.
Nigeria is a major hub for human traffickers who send the scales of African pangolins to Asia.
Pangolins are believed to be the most trafficked mammals in the world, accounting for up to 20 percent of all illegal wildlife trade.
In recent years, Nigeria has confiscated large quantities of illegal animal components in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
© 2021 AFP