By Elizabeth Uwandu
As part of the efforts to fight illegal trafficking of wildlife trade in the country, the Minister of Environment, Suleiman Zarma has handed over six forensic toolkits to Nigeria Customs Service, NCS.
In a statement made available to ships & Ports Ltd, the Minister who presented the toolkits to Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Hammi Swomen, in Abuja, said the equipment would also identify the fingerprints of those responsible for illegal smuggling of ivory.
Zarma who said the fight against illegal trafficking of wildlife like fauna and flora from and through the country was a collective one, noted that since the international trade in ivory was banned in 1989, there had been a burgeoning illegal tradee. He said “But I must say that Nigeria has been able to curtail activities of illegal poaching and thus, our elephants in their natural ecosystems are amongst the most protected in the world.
“Unfortunately, the impact of globalisation has predisposed us to be associated with this illegal trade as the country has become a thriving hub for these illegal exports.
“The global community is aware that Nigeria is being used as a transit and are willing to provide us with all the necessary support to stop these products from transiting through our country,” he said.
The minister explained that the tools had the forensic capacity to detect and document fingerprints/palm marks, including the information on any person that had come in contact with the ivory that was illegally traded.
“It gives me great pleasure to hand over these tools for the retrieval of finger/palm mark evidence off ivory to the Nigeria Customs Service,” he said.