The two persons arrested for allegedly smuggling 145 poisonous snakes and other tropical rainforest reptiles from Cameroon to Nigeria, have disappeared from the custody of the Nigerian Agricultural and Quarantine Agency in Calabar.
The suspects, identified as Victor Agbor and Julius Novigana, were handed over to officials of the NAQA on July 26 by the Customs Area Comptroller in charge of Calabar Free Trade Zone, Cross River and Akwa Ibom Commands, Nanbyen Burromvyat, following their arrest.
The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubril, who visited the office during the weekend, to hand over the reptiles to the University of Uyo for research, was told by the director of the agency, Sunday Uket, that the two persons who were arrested for the crime have disappeared.
Jubril expressed his unhappiness with the agency’s poor handling of the situation.
According to him, the smugglers would have been veritable sources of information on where they got the reptiles, where they were taking them to and for what purpose.
A snake expert from the Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, Dr. Edem Eniang, took delivery of the three boxes.
He said the venom in African mambas is the most sought after in Europe for the treatment of stroke and high blood pressure.
He also revealed that the snakes will be separated and those still alive will be trained in a snake farm and then milked for their venom.