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Two sentenced for possession of illegal pangolin scales, elephant tusks

John Kanu and Obinna Eze are expected to remain in jail for the next four years. The convicts were sentenced on Wednesday at a Federal High Court in Lagos for conspiracy and unlawful possession of 839.4kg of pangolin scales and 145kg of elephant tusks.

The two convicts were arraigned alongside Anthony Onyebuchi and Monday Nnamani, but because of an ammended charge, both Kanu and Eze were handed the sentence by Justice Nicholas Oweibo, after they pleaded guilty to the charges.

The suspects according to court documents were arrested as a result of a joint wildlife enforcement operations by Nigeria Customs Service( NCS) and Wildlife Justice Commission( WJC), targeting illegal wildlife traders and traffickers from Africa to Asia

The prosecutors, Mr. David Ereh, Michael Osong and Abidemi Aluko, while reviewing the case of the charge, told the court that the convicts’ and others on February 2, 2022, conspired among themselves to warehoused the prohibited items, at Adeba in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State.

The prosecutors told the court that the convicts’ actions contravened sections 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Section 7(3) of the National Environmental (Protection of Endangered Species in International Trade) Regulations, 20n and punishable under section 7(4) of the same Regulations. And section 5(1) of the Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) (Amendment) Act, 2016 and punishable under section 5(1)(a) of the same Act.

The prosecutors further urged the court to convict those that pleaded guilty to the charges and sentence them according to the sections of the laws that they were charged with.

In his judgment, Justice Oweibo sentenced the two to two years each on count one and two, while he pardoned them on count tree.

The trial of the remaining two defendants will begin on September 28.

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