From all indications vehicles smuggling in Nigeria has taken a new twist as dare-devil smugglers now attach fake vehicles registration number plates on smuggled vehicles just to deceive customs officers and escape interception.
An investigation carried out by Shipping Position Daily last week, showed that the smugglers normally attached these fake plate numbers to mostly new model exotic SUVs.
One of the smugglers who pleaded to be anonymous told our correspondent that they device this strategy to deceive officers of the Nigeria Customs Service from checking the papers of the vehicles, even as he added that most of the vehicles were smuggled from Cotonou in Benin Republic.
“We chose to bring in these classes of exotic vehicles and attach fake registration numbers on them just to deceive the officers of the Nigeria Customs Service from their normal paper checks. And also if you look at the class of the vehicles with a plate number attached, little will you believe that the vehicle was smuggled and that the number is fake. We specialize in bringing in averagely new SUVs from 2011 upwards”
He also revealed that because the vehicles were smuggled, they sell them at a cheaper price compared to what it would have been sold if all the papers were complete.
“For a vehicle that can be sold for N30million in a normal market when all the duties are paid, we sell them for about N20million or N25million and in that way, we sell them off as soon as possible”
He also said that it will be difficult for the borders to be properly secured because they are too porous.
“I doubt if the government can be able to fight smuggling especially, of vehicles in this country, our borders are too porous and some of the security agents attached to the borders compromise a lot. Then some of the government policies are giving room to this smuggling, many people want to own their cars and you will make the cost of getting the car very high for them, they will get it by all means through smuggling ”, he argued.
He however advised intending car owners to always ensure the authenticity of the car they want to buy.
“I will advise anybody that wants to buy a car, especially some of these SUVs that are always sold at a cheaper price to ensure that they buy with complete papers, and you can go further by taking the papers to customs to ensure that they are genuine”, he concluded.