The Murtala Muhammed Airport Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted items suspected to be dried shark fins and dried donkey genitals worth N1.22 billion at the Lagos airport.
The command’s Area Controller, Comptroller Muhammed Yusuf, said this in a news conference in Lagos on Thursday, August 17, 2023.
Yusuf noted that this was through coordinated anti-smuggling activities in synergy with critical stakeholders.
Yusuf while briefing the media on the scorecard of the command from January to July, said one suspect each was apprehended for the seized items and investigation ongoing.
He noted that the suspect intercepted for the shark fins was a Nigerian and the item was heading to China while that of donkey genitals was a Chinese heading to Hong Kong.
According to him, the six packages of suspected dried shark fins has a Free on Board (FOB) value of N221.9 million, while the 25 packages of donkey genitals has an FOB value of N1.01 billion, both totalling N1.23 billion.
“These items were seized mainly because of various forms of infractions on export guidelines and failure to comply with CITES Law on endangered species as enshrined in the Nigeria Customs Service Act.
“From the number of fins we have here, the implication is that we have over a thousand sharks that have been endangered. We cannot go on with this illegal trade because at the end of the day, it will be problem for us.
“Animals in the sea have a role they play, endangering them will affect the ecosystem and for us officers at the NCS, we will always make sure that these items under export prohibition list cannot go out,” he said.
The customs boss noted that this was the first time the command intercepted such and it was nabbed at the exit point after all documentation.
He said that the shark fin was declared as such while that of the donkey genitals was declared as animal cow genitals.
Yusuf added that the items would be handed over to a unit in customs for further investigation and eventually they would unravel more information.
On the scorecard from January to July, Yusuf said the command generated N47.25 billion, representing 83.24 per cent of target met.
“When compared to the same period in 2022 of N40.335 billion, a progressive difference of N6.914 billion, representing 17.14 per cent increase,” he said.
Yusuf appreciated officers and men of the command for their dedication to the service and urged them to always adhere strictly to the rules of engagements while discharging their statutory duties.
He also appreciated the acting Controller General of Customs, Mr Adewale Adeniyi, and his management team for always giving them the leverage to perform.
“I appreciate our critical stakeholders and sister agencies who are showing concern and are collaborating with the service for their continuous support,” he said.
By Chiazo Ogbolu