By Frank Ulom
A Cameroonian identified as Mohammed Ibrahim, has been arrested with 52 units of Elephant Tusks weighing about 200 kilogrammes by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS.
Ibrahim was arrested on Thursday, 8 February 2024, at Mfum, a border town in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River bordering Nigeria and Cameroon.
The suspect who specialises in the exportation of products across international borders, was said to be on his way to Lagos for onward transportation of the items to another location when he was arrested.
Customs Area Controller, Cross River/CFTZ/Akwa Ibom Command, Comptroller Ahmed Waziri, while briefing newsmen in Calabar on Monday, 12 February 2024, said it was unfortunate that people were still getting involved in this kind of illicit business of moving body parts of endangered species which has an adverse ecological effect.
According to Waziri, “On February 8, 2024, a Honda SUV Truck with Registration number: FST 733 HH, Chassis No: 2KZYK16428H500704, driven by one Mohammed Ibrahim was intercepted, and upon investigation, they discovered 52 units of Elephant tusks weighing about 200 kilogrammes.
“Further examination conducted revealed that the suspect had two number plates of both Nigeria (Lagos) and Cameroon (CMR ) LT 214 AY), and a service pistol discovered inside the vehicle, including 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 (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 expectations. Many of such items pass through their domain in most cases without their knowledge but they have a role to play as security is everybody’s business.
“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 in the government warehouse.
“I want to commend my eagle eye officers at Mfum for being able to intercept those items worth over 300 million naira and also apprehending the suspect.
“Our legal unit is already on the matter and he will be charged to court immediately we complete our investigations.”
The Customs Controller called on other security agencies to take their duties more professionally in a bid to nip crime in the bud.