The Nigerian Postal Service said that between the 2015 and 2016 financial years, it intercepted 23 elephant tusks weighing 485.4kg and worth N458, 703,000.
The NIPOST said that the products, concealed in parcels, were detected and intercepted during parcel screening by the International Mail Processing Centre in Lagos.
The Postmaster General/Chief Executive Officer, Bisi Adegbuyi, stated this in Lagos during the handing over of intercepted elephant tusks to the Director-General, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency.
He said that the intention of poachers to illegally ship elephant tusks through the post was that the Nigerian post was a safe haven for such a nefarious action.
Adegbuyi said that NIPOST’s findings revealed that 1kg of elephant tusks sold as much as $2,100 on the black market.
“The value of the 485.4kg of elephant tusks intercepted translates to $1,019,340 with the naira equivalent of N458,703,000,” he said.
The NIPOST postmaster general said that the discovery further explained the reason for the desperation of elephant tusk poachers and the need for sustainable action plans on the part of relevant government agencies to reverse the trend.
“The successful interception of the 485.4kg of elephant tusks by NIPOST and the Nigeria Customs Service in the course of parcel screening exercise at the International Mail Processing Centre has proved them wrong.
“We shall continue to do our best to protect our postal system by putting in place necessary institutional frameworks and structures,” he added.
The General Manager, IMPC, Mrs. L.U Nwakanmma, said that there was a need for designated stakeholders in the postal network to work in partnership to curb the ugly trend.
Information at their disposal, she said, indicated that elephant tusks were used for obtaining ivory, adding that the Asian market provided a viable platform for illegal ivory traders.
“The desperate elephant tusks poachers will not spare any available mode of shipment, including the post, to carry out their activities,” Nwakanmma said.
According to her, the rapid growth of e-commerce, especially across border purchases presently being experienced, has implicit challenges for the global postal industry.
She said that the technical support provided by the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom had promised to prevent prohibited, sophisticated concealment of contraband goods and dangerous articles from passing through the post.
“I will like to state that our parcel scanning activities have also resulted in the detection and interception of a number of other prohibited and dangerous items at the international mail processing centre. They include various kinds of counterfeited national currencies, financial instruments and identification documents,” she added.