The Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) yesterday brought seven men before the Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged illegal possession dealing, assembling, storing, smuggling and trading in pangolin skin and elephant’s ivory.
The defendants, comprising three Vietnamese citizens, two Nigerians and a citizen of Cameroon and Guinea, were arraigned before Justice Yellim Bogoro. The Vietnamese are Phan Viet Chi, Phan Hong Quan and Duong Van Thang. The Nigerians are Babangida Mahmoud and Olamilekan Adenekan, while the Guinea and Cameroon citizens in the charge are Mory Berrette and Fofou Dadjo Evariste respectively.
Prosecution counsel Michael Osong alleged that the defendants committed the offences between 2018 and 2022, in Lagos. He said the offences contravened sections 3(6); 1(14)(a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004 and were punishable under Section 1(14)(a) of the same Act; Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, and sections 64 and 64(1)(b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act, 2004.
They also offended Section 166 of the Customs and Excise Management Act, 2004, sections 3(1) & (2)(a) of the Customs and Excise (Special Penal and Other Provisions) Act, 2004 and Section 5(1) of the Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act, 2004 among other laws
Each defendant pleaded not guilty and sought bail. Justice Bogoro remanded the defendants in the facility of the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) till the hearing and determination of their bail application. She adjourned till September 30, for trial.