Nigeria Customs Foils Smuggling Attempt of Endangered Parrots
Officials from the Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service have successfully thwarted an attempt to smuggle African parrots, including green and African grey parrots, worth a staggering N6.89 million to Benin Republic.
These valuable birds were discovered concealed within a luxurious bus that had departed from Kaduna state with its destination set for Benin Republic.
Illegal Trade in Endangered Species
The African grey parrot, in particular, has been subject to stringent international regulations due to its status as an endangered species.
It is listed on a priority roster by the United Nations to safeguard it from the brink of extinction. The act of trading in such species is prohibited on an international level to preserve their dwindling populations.
Successful Seizure and Arrests
Customs Area Controller for the Seme Area Command, Timi Bomodi, confirmed the seizure, which transpired on September 25, 2023, around 4 am.
The interception was carried out by vigilant officers and personnel of the Command who were on patrol along the Seme-Badagry Expressway.
Acting on credible intelligence, they halted a luxurious bus en route from Kaduna to Benin Republic.
Contents of the Smuggled Cargo
Upon a thorough search of the vehicle, the authorities uncovered a total of 51 live green parrots, five live African grey parrots, five deceased green parrots, one deceased African grey parrot, and one live hawk, all confined in iron nets and a paper box.
Tragically, six of the birds did not survive the traumatic conditions they were subjected to during transportation.
Furthermore, two suspects were apprehended in connection with this illicit operation.
Condemnation of Illegal Trade
Controller Timi Bomodi expressed unequivocal condemnation of this illegal trade, emphasizing that it blatantly violated the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Nigeria is a signatory to this international agreement between governments, which is aimed at safeguarding endangered wildlife.
In alignment with the principles of inter-agency collaboration, and recognizing the gravity of this offense, the seized parrot birds will be handed over to the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) Seme Command.
Additionally, the National Park Service will be informed of this seizure, as it falls under their purview to rehabilitate and protect these vulnerable creatures from further harm.
Controller Bomodi issued a stern warning to those involved in illegal trade to steer clear of the Lagos-Abidjan corridor.