The police in Cross River State are on the trail of Joseph Enem, a former councillor in Akamkpa Local Government Area wanted for allegedly killing four elephants and selling their tusks to foreigners.
Ubi Arikpo, a Commissioner in the state’s Forestry Commission, said on Wednesday that the councillor and his accomplices were hiding in the Oban Forest Reserve.
According to him, the suspects ran away after the deal was exposed. “They are now hibernating in the forest after the police declared them wanted for illegally poaching four elephants in the Oban Forest Reserve,” he said. “They killed the elephants and threw away the bodies of the huge animals after removing their tusks which they gave to their agents for onward transport to Europe for sale.”
He said that the agents came into the state from neighbouring Cameroon; adding that the forestry commission had recovered and preserved the carcasses of the animals which would be presented as evidence in court.
The forestry officer said the elephants had been classified as endangered wildlife and poaching them was a serious crime under the laws establishing the commission.
The law provides two-year imprisonment with a N150, 000 fine or both as punishment.
He blamed communities living around the forest reserve for allowing poachers to carry out their activities freely and urged them to assist in protecting the animals.
According to him, the police recently arrested some poachers with 140 parrots stolen from the forest.
He said the suspects were in the process of exporting the birds to Europe through Cameroon when they were arrested.