Pangolin is gaining much more attention in Nigeria, as traffickers zero in on the endangered species.

In 2018, traffickers tried unsuccessful to ship no fewer than 14,833 metric tonnes of Pangolin scales.

The shipment according to Nigeria Customs Service, NCS is estimated at more than 900 million dollars, about 324 billion naira.

Asst. Comptroller Mutalib Sule of the NCS, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, made the disclosure at an event to mark the 2019 World Pangolin Day on Wednesday in Lagos.

The event, which was organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Lekki, Lagos, in collaboration with the Pangolin Conservation Guild of Nigeria had the theme: “Pangolins and Politics’’.

“The summary of Pangolin seizure by the FOU Zone A under my superintendent in the year 2018 is 14,833 metric tonnes.

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“My study across the world revealed that this is the highest seizure of Pangolin in the world.

“Japan came a distant second having made a seizure of 7.100kg of Pangolin in the same year with the estimated value of 450,000 dollars.

“Going by this, Nigeria’s seizure under my watch cannot be less than 900,000,000 million dollars or even more,” Sule said.

The customs official said that people engaged in illicit trade of Pangolins because of the benefits.

“Roasted pangolin scales are believed to cure cancer, relieve palsy and even stimulate breast milk.

“Pangolins are hunted for food, for use in traditional medicines and as fashion accessories; it is considered a delicacy in China, Vietnam and other parts of South East Asia.

“The scales are prized 3,000 dollars per kilogram, while the meat is 300 dollars per kilogram; live pangolin attracts 1,000 dollars based on current black-market prize, a kilogramme of pangolin is sold at 15,000 dollars.

“The mouth-watering price of the illicit trade largely accounted for the business to boom and attract international attention; about 10,000 Pangolins are poached every year.”

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