A live endangered species of African Grey Parrots, Green Parrots and a hawk with a combined value of about N6,859,832 have been intercepted by the Nigeria Customs Service, Seme Area Command.
The development was conveyed to the press on Wednesday by the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Timi Bomodi, who said the seizure was based on credible intelligence.
The Comptroller also disclosed that the endangered animals were intercepted at the Gbaji checkpoint en route Benin Republic.
He said, “These animals were intercepted by our officers at about 4 am today; we got the intelligence that they were being conveyed in a luxurious bus all the way from Kaduna to Lagos, with the intention to take them out of the country to sell.
“As you may be aware, this is an illicit trade of endangered species, they are valued outside the country and we have individuals that are ready to go through a lot of risks to smuggle these birds.”
Bomodi restated the commitment of the Nigeria Customs Service to curb the menace of illicit trade in the country while also noting that two suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure.
Speaking further on the issue, he said, “Part of the responsibilities of the Nigeria Customs Service as a signatory to the convention on illicit trade in endangered species is to ensure trade like this does not continue and we are hell-bent on seeing that things of this nature are not circulated.
“We already have two suspects in our custody, and the normal procedure for activating seizures of this nature with special regard to how these defendants will be treated is already in place.”
The seized animals were handed over to the Controller, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services, Sanusi Magashi.
The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services will temporarily safeguard and nurture the animals before releasing them to the national park.