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Nigerian university gets boxes of snakes, spiders as gift

 

Three boxes containing reptiles such as snakes, spiders, millipedes and many other similar creatures have been handed over to the University of Uyo, South-South Nigeria, for research purposes.

The poisonous creatures allegedly smuggled into Nigeria from Cameroon were handed over to the Department of Forestry and Natural Environment, University of Uyo  by the Minister of State for Environment , Ibrahim Usman Jubuil in Calabar on Friday.

Jubril disclosed while handing over the reptiles that  the importers  wanted to use Nigeria as a transit point to smuggle the reptiles whose destination as seen in the boxes they were loaded as  Rotterdam,  Luxemburg as against Asia as originally suspected
“The importers thought they could use Nigeria water channel or airports  to smuggle the reptiles  because they see our  ports, airport and   water channels  as easy transit points  for their nefarious activities  but thanks to the Customs Service for their vigilance, they intercepted the items”

He said the reptiles have the capacity of wiping  out the country’s  fauna if  released to the wild without proper research that is why the ministry decided to release them to a University to conduct the appropriate research on them before deciding what to do with  them.

“We must learn to have the interest of the environment at heart in all our activities. There are many things that these reptiles can do that are both destructive and  beneficial to our habitat so we must always learn to ensure that we are vigilant at all times to ensure that nobody  or organisation imports things that can  negatively impact on our environment”.

He added that inter agency collaboration is necessary to make sure  the interest of the country is always protected  at all times as demonstrated by the Nigeria Customs Service  which  impounded the boxes and promptly   handed them over to the Nigeria Agricultural and Quarantine Services for safekeeping

Receiving the items, Dr Edem Eniang of the Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, a snake expert said that  the  snakes were professionally packaged for export and that the venom in African mambas is  the best and the most sought after in Europe for the treatment of stroke and high blood pressure and that the snakes would have been milked for their venom by those who smuggled them had they arrived their destination. .

He disclosed that the snakes  would be  separated  and those still alive would be trained in a snake farm and there after milked for their venom to  be used for scientific research by the University.

 

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