The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, yesterday in Calabar officially handed over three boxes containing 145 assorted snakes to authorities of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) in Akwa Ibom State.
The presentation took place at the premises of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in the presence of officials of Nigeria Customs Service who impounded the reptiles and the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services.
The minister handed over the snakes to Dr Edem Eniang, a snake expert of the Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, University of Uyo, who said they were poisonous and if allowed to escape, would endanger the environment and other species.
Last month, men of the Customs impounded the boxes containing over 600 assorted spiders, geckos, snakes and long red millipedes among others.
The reptiles were from a Cameroonian firm, Rainbow Express with, address at Click Quarters, PO Box 441, Buea and were meant for one Mr Klein Goal, C/O Redstone Exotics, 7, Rue Dr Rotterdam in Luxembourg.
Upon interception at the Nigerian Internal Waterways Agency (NIWA) by the Customs, the reptiles were handed over to the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantined Services.
Many of the reptiles, however, died in the custody of the quarantine services.