A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday have convicted a Vietnamese Nguyen Huy who was arraigned for trafficking in 200 kilograms of Pangolin scales.
Justice Daniel Osiagor sentenced Nguyen to two years imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to two counts charge preferred against him by
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The convict was brought before the court on charges of acting in contravention of Nigeria Customs and Excise Management Act and unlawful possession of Pangolin scales, a specimen specified in the First Schedule to the Endangered Species Act.
The convicted Vietnamese and others were sometimes brought before the court after they were arrested by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Wildlife Justice Commission( WJC), a joint wildlife enforcement operations, targeting illegal wildlife traffickers of Pangolin scales from Africa to Asia.
At the hearing of the charges against the convict, today, the prosecutor, Mrs. Onyeka Ohakwe, informed the court that the Vietnamese and others, who are his compatriots, but now at large, committed the offences on May 9, 2022, at Chicken Republic restaurant, Marina, Lagos State.
The prosecutor also informed the court that the defendant was unlawfully in possession of 200 kilograms of the pangolin scales.
She informed the court that the offences committed by the convict, contravened Sections 64 of the Customs and Excise Management Act, 2004 and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 166 of the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap. C45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. And section 5(1) of the Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act, 2004 and punishable under section 5(1)(a) of the same Act.
Upon his guilty plea, the prosecutor, Mrs. Ohakwe, thereafter reviewed the facts of the charge and tendered some exhibits which were admitted by the court.
She also urged the court to convcit him as charge and also to sentence him in consonance with the sections of Customs Act he was charged for.
But the convict’s counsel, Okey Mgbobukwa, in his allucutor, pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy in sentencing his client. He particularly urged the court to considered the convict timely pleased guilty to the charges made against him.
In his judgment, justice Osiagor, after hearing from counsel, sentenced the vietnamese to three months imprisonment in each of the counts.
The judge also ordered that the sentence shall run concurrently and to commence from the date of his arrest.