Two suspects arrested by men of the Nigerian Police in connection with the smuggling of 140 different species of snakes and 660 other animals have reportedly disappeared from custody.
The men were reported to have smuggled the consignment containing the animals into Nigeria from Cameroon and were detained by the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services in Cross River State.
The smugglers, identified as Julius Novigana and Victor Agbor were on July 26 handed over to the NAQS officials after men of the Nigerian Customs intercepted their parcel. The Comptroller General in charge of Calabar Free Trade Zone, Cross River and Akwa Ibom Commands, Mrs. Nanbyen Burromvyat handed the culprits over for proper disciplinary action.
However, the state director in charge of the NAQS, Mr. Sunday Ukut, on Friday, revealed that the two suspects had disappeared from custody.
Speaking to the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubril, Sunday Ukut said: “Just two persons were brought here and we have no clue where they have disappeared to.”
The Minister was however surprised by the claim stating that he was not happy at the claim especially at the agency’s poor handling of the case.
The Minister further stated that the men would have given valuable information on the source of tha animals and where they were taking them to.
He added: “But the agency has messed up the vigilance and good intentions of the Customs service officers who intercepted the consignment.”