Imported Tokunbo 2004 Toyota Highlander jeep being taken out of the container recently at Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) in Lagos
The Nigeria Customs Service has said that more than 100 vehicles are seized by the service daily for difference infractions such as smuggling and underpayment of duties.
The Customs Controller in charge of Administration at the Zone ‘A’, headquarters of the Service, Comptroller Olutade Adeoye, who made this disclosure last week in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos, also charged vehicle dealers to run a check on vehicles in any Customs office, to ensure that the vehicles were not smuggled before they make the payment.
He also lamented that most of the vehicles that are being smuggled are mostly the latest models of different brands.
“You see these vehicles passing through the bush. There is no day that the government doesn’t seize about 100 vehicles and these vehicles are mostly brand new vehicles like 2017, 2018 models of the brands. Some of them N65Million and above and you see them in the car marts. If you are unlucky to buy such vehicles, then that is your own business”, he warned.
Stressing further, he advised vehicle dealers to patronize the seaports and shun vehicle smuggling as patronizing the seaport will guarantee safety of lives and the vehicles, even as he added that coming through the seaport will help ensure uniformity of duties on the vehicles.
He called for the creation of more jobs in the border communities, saying that jobs will help to address the issues of hostility in such areas.
“There is a law that vehicles should not come in through the land borders, import your vehicles through the seaports, pay your uniform duty and you carry your vehicle and be using it. If you carry it through the border, it is passing through the bush and you will run into many troubles, sometime armed robbers will collect it, sometime they will be killed and even the vehicles may be greatly damaged”, he observed.
He advised that importers should “go straight to the seaport, pay your duty and go with your vehicle, the difference will not be much. It is still our duty to pursue these smuggled vehicles and when a group of customs officers is pursuing these smuggled vehicles, the society will be running blames, curses on customs officers. These are some of the challenges we face, we will continue to sensitize the society”.
Compt. Adeoye, lamented what he called non-patriotism on the part of members of the public in the fight against smuggling of goods, adding that the service has done well in the area of sensitizing the people on the dangers of smuggling.
He decried the rate at which officers of the service are killed in their effort to fight smuggling .