Some seized 2018 vehicles by the FOU Zone A, Ikeja being displayed to newsmen by the Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Muhammad Ubah, recently at unit's warehouse in Ikeja
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service said that most of the exotic 2018 models of vehicles that were impounded because their importers fail to pay the levy they are supposed to pay considering the mileage they have covered.
The Customs Area Controller in charge of the unit, Comptroller Muhammed Umar, who disclosed this recently, while showcasing some of the seized vehicles, maintained that until appropriate government revenue is recovered, the vehicles will still remain in the custody of the service.
He also reiterated that importation of vehicles through the land borders is prohibited, adding that apart from revenue, smuggling denies the government of appropriate data on what comes in and out of the country.
“For the 2018 models, when they have not covered such mileage, you have to pay levy so they try to avoid such levy. When we subject such document to investigation we will find out that government money has not been recovered. So we bring many of such vehicles here until the government money is recovered before we release such vehicles. As you are aware, the importation of vehicles through land border is banned.
Some vehicles you are seeing here are under detention till you now produce customs document. When the documents are produced and we certify that appropriate government money has been collected the vehicle will be released to the owner. One of the reasons why government does not like smuggling activities apart from causing unemployment, is because there is no data or record of exactly what is being smuggled in or out of the country. And that affects plans and development so that is the reason why the government does not support that”
The Customs boss also said that within three weeks the unit has been able to realize the sum of N59 million from short payments of vehicles.
“Some of them you see here were brought here because they have not paid adequate money and when such money is collect end we also release them and notify the headquarters. That is what we have been doing and this time around we have been able to generate N59 million within three weeks and this is from short payment of such vehicles and goods that they are trying to beat customs. Talking about the number of vehicles we have released I am a scientist I don't guess so what you will do is to go to the revenue unit, records are there”, he told journalists.
“I told you that whenever vehicles or goods are brought here for non-production of Customs documents, we send the report to customs headquarters and when the individuals bring their documents and we certify and we are sure that adequate government money has been collected we release them. You know like I told you, that traders are for profit making so anything they feel will stop them from maximizing their profit, they will avoid them. And it is in the cause of doing that we arrest those vehicles and being them here. And let me tell you what we do, any patrol team you see whether police or customs before leaving their office for patrol, they must book officially the name of the officers and the OC and their official vehicle for their going out. Whatever they get in the process of their patrol, they will put in their record. As for customs how we do if our patrol team goes out brings on goods either detention or seizure what we do immediately is we communicate to the customs headquarters immediately. So within the interval if the owner comes up with relevant documents concerning the cargo whether it is a container or vehicles, and we are sure based on the document presented that appropriate government money has been collected and procedure has not been violated, we will release the cargo to the owner. This is the secret of trade facilitation the seal number will also be communicated to the customs headquarters. This is what we do we operate within the confines of the law”, he added.