Minister of State urged security agencies to continue to collaborate for the benefit of the nation and to uncover the perpetrator or persons responsible for importing the 145 species of reptiles into the country.
Dr. Edem Eniang of Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, commended the decision of the Nigerian Government to donate the wildlife to the institution.
Eniang, who is one of the few snake experts in the country, said “we appreciate the government for donating these snakes to the department. We are also grateful that the crates were made secure because these species are very dangerous.”
He explained that “the venom from the snakes are very expensive in the international market because these have high medicinal value and curative properties for diseases like strokes and many others.”
The University Don promised to carefully preserve the surviving reptiles for studies and regeneration, noting that the importation of the reptiles may be for commercial purposes.
Last month, officers of the Nigerian Customs Service impounded the boxes containing more than 600 assorted spiders, geckos, snakes, long red millipedes and others.
The reptiles were imported by a firm, Rainbow Express with an address in Click Quarters, PO Box 441, Buea in nearby Republic of Cameroon.
The boxes where addressed to one Mr. Klein Goal, Care Of: Redstone Exotics, 7 Rue Dr Rotterdam in Luxembourg.
Men of the Nigeria Customs intercepted the boxes at the Nigerian Internal Waterways Agency, NIWA, jetty in Calabar and transferred the reptiles to the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services located within the state capital.
Since the crates were secured in quarantine, some of the reptiles died from suffocation.