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Customs Officials Arrest Suspected Wildlife Smuggler

The Federal Operations Unit, Zone A Ikeja of the Nigeria Customs Service, announced that it has arrested Mr Felix Maiva, a suspected wildlife smuggling kingpin.

This was contained in a statement on Friday by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Theophilus Duniya, who said Maiva has been on the run since 2021.

The P.R.O explained that the arrest was a fallout of the discovery of a 20-foot container loaded with wildlife en route Vietnam through Apapa Port in 2021.

“Maiva’s arrest was a fallout of intense investigation and surveillance that followed the discovery of a20-foott container found to contain 4,752kg of elephant ivory, 5,239kg of pangolin scales, 5kg of rhinoceros horns, and some lion skeletons. The illegal wildlife products were bound to be exported to Haiphong, Vietnam, in January 2021 through the Apapa Seaport, Lagos, Nigeria,” Duniya said.

Duniya added that the suspect is a shipping agent and a member of an organised crime group who is wanted by the NCS for their involvement in the January 2021 seizure and other organised wildlife trafficking offences.

“It is worthy of note that the earlier wildlife seizure made by operatives of the NCS in Apapa led to the conviction of a clearing agent, Mr Felix Olame, in June 2023 by a Federal High Court in Lagos,” he added.

However, the acting Comptroller of FOU Zone A, Hussein Ejibunu, in the statement, commended the officers for their tact, intelligence, and consistency in following up on the suspect.

He reiterated that smugglers no matter how far they run, would be caught by the long arms of the law.

Ejibunu described the breakthrough as a morale booster for officers following up on similar cases and suspects.

He said, “Maiva’s arrest comes as a result of an intelligence-driven operation by officers of the NCS and the Wildlife Justice Commission to support the global effort to fight crimes against endangered species,” he concluded.

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