By Jonathan Ugbal
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Thursday announced the interception of 140 snakes and some 600 other animals including hairy frogs, geckos, millipedes and spiders in the container of a vessel; MV Flesh.
The animals include snakes such as Atheris squamigera, Bitis gobanica, Dasypeltis ssp, Boiga pulverinata, among others, while the geckos were Hemidactylus frenatus and Hemidactylus fasciatus and the Comptroller in charge of the Calabar Free Trade Zone, Cross River and Akwa Ibom command, Mrs. Nanbyen Burromvyat who said the snakes were in 3 consignments and the items on July 24 after the vessel berthed at the NIWA jetty from Cameroon and Laagos bound, were prohibited items under Schedule 3 of the Revised Import Prohibition List (Trade) in the Common External Tariff.
“These containers have animals of different sizes. They were brought in on July 24, 2017, through this Calabar waterway. The consignment was spotted by our vigilant officers and they contain live animals.
“There is no provision for permit to bring them in. We are seizing them and handing the containers over to the Nigerian Quarantine Services for further necessary action.
“I do not know what they want to do with it, but I think it will be dangerous for us because it contains snake, spiders, geckos and other creatures. We have enough snakes around Nigeria already and it will be suspicious importing this. I do not know what to think because I do not know what they can be used for,” said Mrs Burromvyat who pointed out that the market value of the animals was NGN6.9million.
The animals have been handed over to the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services in the state where the officer in charge, Mr. Sunday Ukut told newsmen that investigations will be properly conducted and the animals will be properly scrutinized after which they may be destroyed reports DailyPost.
The arrested agent who brought in the consignment from Cameroon, Mr. Julius Novigana, said the consignment was given to him by a friend to deliver to someone in Lagos.
According to him, his friend only asked him to deliver the consignment to an unidentified person in Lagos.
Captain of the vessel that brought the consignment, Victor Agbor, also a Cameroonian, said he did not spot the containers when he was about leaving his country.
He added, “The name of my vessel is MV Flesh and we bring in passengers and general cargo from Cameroon to Nigeria. I never saw this container on board before leaving.”
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