June 23rd, 2022: This report by Justin Gosling of the Environmental Investigation Agency is believed to be the first of its kind relating to a specific wildlife case in Nigeria, a seizure of 7.1 tonnes of pangolin scales and 846 kg of ivory that was effected in Lagos on July 28th, 2021. The seizure and arrests conducted by Nigerian authorities were based on surveillance and intelligence from the Wildlife Justice Commission. To better understand the legal challenges and complexities this prosecution is going to face, another EIA report, “Combating Wildlife Crime in Nigeria, An Analysis of the Criminal Justice Legislative Framework.” , would be well worth the read.
Another day in court: wildlife crimes grinding too slowly through the wheels of justice in Nigeria – EIA
A 2021 ivory and pangolin trafficking case had its latest day in court and EIA was there to document the proceedings as well as the challenges of securing justice in Nigeria.
The wooden pews in Courtroom No 10 at Lagos Federal Court were packed last Wednesday (15 June) as lawyers assembled for the day’s listings, which included the trial of defendants Mohammed Berete, Traore Djankoba and Isiaka Musa.
The three were arrested in Lagos in July 2021 following the interception by Nigerian Customs agents of 196 sacks of pangolin scales weighing 7,137.40kg, one sack of pangolin claws weighing 4.60kg and 29 sacks of elephant tusks weighing 870.4kg.
Wilson Ogoke, Wildlife Policy Coordinator with our partner Africa Nature Investors, and I squeezed into the back row of the court alongside barristers in their wigs and gowns.