By Ige Olugbenga
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Wednesday intercepted three consignments containing 140 species of snakes and 660 other animals imported into Nigeria from Cameroon.
The containers were brought in aboard a Cameroonian vessel, MV Flesh, through the Calabar waterways to the National Inland Waterways Authority jetty in Calabar, Cross River state.
The other animals which were identified as geckos, millipedes, hairy frogs and spiders, were said to be worth about N6.9m.
The Customs Area Comptroller in charge of Calabar Free Trade Zone – Cross River and Akwa Ibom commands, Nanbyen Burromvyat, said the consignments were intercepted by vigilant officers on July 24, 2017.
She said the consignments, which were Lagos-bound, are prohibited items under the Schedule 3 of the Revised Import Prohibition List (Trade) in the Common External Tariff.
Without opening the containers to prevent the escape of the animals, Burromvyat handed over the items and the two suspects arrested to the authorities of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services for further investigation.
The suspect who allegedly brought in the consignments from Cameroon, Julius Novigana, said they were given to him by a friend to deliver to someone in Lagos.
Novigana, a Cameroonian agent, claimed that he did not know what were in the three containers, adding that his friend only asked him to deliver the consignments to an unidentified person in Lagos.