By Bernard Tolani Dada Uyo
The authorities of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Akwa Ibom State have given reasons why the institution undertook the custody of over 600 reptiles including snakes, millipedes and other animals seized by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), in Calabar, Cross River State.
The consignments of reptiles stored in three boxes were ferried from the Republic of Cameroun to the agent in Lagos, for onward transmission to Luxembourg, their final destination in Europe, it was learnt yesterday.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Uyo, during the first analysis session of the samples custodian of the reptiles ,Dr. Edem Eniang, said the Federal Government chose him to keep the animals because of his expertise in snakes and other reptiles.
Ten reptiles’ specialists led by Eniang, examined the animals at the institution yesterday.
Eniang, a leading Herpetologist, who heads the Wildlife and Ecology Unit of the Department of Forestry and Natural Environmental Management, said “I was chosen to keep the animals because I specialize in reptiles and did my PhD on snakes and I am a global authority on snakes”.
“The Federal Government know I am an expert in snakes and reptiles”, he stressed, adding that he was given the task of analyzing the true state and conditions of the animals before making recommendations to the Federal Government.
“I am to analyze and report to the Federal Government on the true status of the animals”, Eniang, a former employee of the Cross River National Park, explained, adding that the seized snakes were taken from South West Cameroon, which shares the same contiguous zone with Southeast Nigeria.