The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, has given reason why the Federal Government preferred to entrust the remaining snakes, millipedes and spiders which were impounded at Calabar ports more than three weeks ago to the Department of Forestry and Natural Environment, University of Uyo.
He said they found out that it was the university that had some of the very few snakes’ experts in the country.
Jibril said that they would like the experts to regenerate the rare snakes whose venom was sought after and highly priced in the international market.
He spoke in Calabar at the premises of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the presence of officials of the Nigerian Customs Service which had impounded the wildlife that was imported by unknown persons who are presently at large.
“We are convinced that these wildlife will be well conserved at the university because they have experts. The snakes experts can help us do further studies about them. We know too that the venom from these snakes cost fortunes in the international market,” the minister said.
He commended the efforts and synergy by the Nigerian Customs Service and other agencies before, during and when the three wooden boxes which contained 140 species of the snakes and 600 animals were formally handed over to Dr Edem Eniang who heads the forestry department of UNIUYO by the minister.
The boxes had geckos, millipedes, hairy frogs and spiders, imported into the country from Cameroon, all valued at N6.9 million. The illegal consignments were heading to Luxembourg in Europe when they were impounded by the Nigeria Internal Waterways Agency Calabar.