The Nigeria Customs Service operatives has apprehended a Cameroonian national, Mohammed Ibrahim, for the illegal transportation of 52 units of elephant tusks worth N300 million in Mfum, a border town situated in the Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The Area Comptroller of the Cross River/CFTZ/Akwa Ibom Command of the NIS, Ahmed Waziri made the announcement during a press conference held in Calabar on Monday.
The interception, made on Thursday, led to the arrest of Ibrahim, who was allegedly en route to Lagos with the contraband. The elephant tusks, weighing 200kg, were found concealed in a Honda SUV truck bearing the number plate FST 733 HH.
Waziri stated that preliminary investigations revealed Ibrahim’s involvement in the smuggling of tusks across international borders, using Nigeria as a transit route.
Furthermore, a pistol with live ammunition was discovered inside the vehicle, adding to the severity of Ibrahim’s charges.
“This arrest sends a clear message that Nigeria will not tolerate the exploitation of its territory for illicit activities,” emphasized Waziri, urging border communities to remain vigilant against such crimes.
He commended the vigilance of NIS officers in Mfum, whose swift action led to the interception and arrest of Ibrahim. The seized tusks and the suspect are currently in custody pending further legal proceedings.
Furthermore, Waziri highlighted a recent incident where three individuals were arrested in Lagos between January 25, 2024, and February 6, 2024, for their involvement in the illegal export of elephant tusks to Asia. These arrests underscore the ongoing efforts of NIS in combating wildlife trafficking and related crimes.
“Our legal unit is already handling the matter, and the suspect will be promptly charged to court upon the completion of our investigations,” Waziri concluded, reaffirming the commitment of NIS to uphold Nigeria’s laws and protect its natural heritage.