Some of the seized 64 assorted vehicles at the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) A, Ikeja Lagos recently
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has seized vehicles worth over N1.2 billion in Lagos.
Speaking recently while displaying the seized vehicles to newsmen in Lagos, the Customs Area Controller of the unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, said that the 64 vehicles were seized from different locations in Lagos. He gave the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the vehicles as N1, 302, 927, 106.16.
Giving details, he said: “Among the detained vehicles include 2 Lexus Jeep (Bullet Proof), 1 Toyota Land Cruiser (Bullet Proof), 9 Toyota Hilux , 8 Toyota Hiace buses, 26 Toyota Corolla, 9 Land Cruiser jeeps, 5 Toyota Camry, 1 Land Rover, 1 Nissan Sentra, 1 Pajero jeep, all 2017 models and 1 Sienna 2015 model and 1 Lexus RX 350 among others. The 64 assorted vehicles alone have Duty Paid Value (DPV) of, One billion, three hundred and two million, nine hundred and twenty seven thousand, one hundred and six naira sixteen kobo (N1, 302, 927, 106.16)”
He said that 57 out of the 64 vehicles were evacuated on intelligence report while the remaining was intercepted while on information patrol, adding that nobody has come forward to claim ownership of the vehicles not to talk of producing End Users Certificate for the bullet proof vehicles, he added that the unit’s legal department has started investigation.
“Based on intelligence, 57 vehicles were evacuated along Omole Estate, Ojodu and Olayiwole Close, Lekki Phase 1, the remaining seven were intercepted while on information patrol along Ijebu Ode expressway and Olorunda. They built a high hall, with electric fence and a watchman, we used intelligence to know. You can now see there is no way you can evacuate 52 vehicles mostly 2017 model and nobody has come to claim, meaning that they were smuggled. Nobody will clear this from the ports and customs will come and intercept them and the person has not showed up, because they know they smuggled the vehicles’’.
‘’We doubt if they have any customs papers for the vehicles not to talk of End-User Certificate for the bullet proof. Our legal unit has already been mandated to start to investigate it and as soon as we get any head way about the owners or their agents, we will let the public know. Or by the time they have been jailed we will give you the address of the prison where they are serving their jail terms, so that you will interview them and ask them if they will do smuggling again or not”, he told journalists last week.
Compt. Uba also promised to uphold the federal government policy on ban on the importation of vehicles through land borders, adding that there is no record of smuggled goods in Nigeria.
“You know importation of vehicles through the land border have been banned by the federal government; the same thing with rice. These are policies by the federal government and we have to continue to encourage the government. The value of all these vehicles is over N1.2billion but if you add everything together we have more than N1.3billion. There is no bill of laden from the border that is why it is smuggled, you see that is the danger if there was a bill of laden we will be able to give the statistics but this one there is no record. The government has no record about these cars coming in and the government will not tolerate it”, he said.
He also challenged importers of the vehicles to come up with the papers of the vehicles for clarification and collection.
“Nobody with his right senses will bring in 52 vehicles worth N1.2 billion and because we are customs officers we carried them and the person cannot come it is not possible. You know investigation takes a lot of time because of bureaucracy so that we will not just go and bundle an innocent person and put in the prison. The legal department is a sound department and they are equal to the task, what we do is that when we make arrest we bring the person here and the legal department starts investigation. It is when you apprehend something investigation will begin and that is what we are doing we are not magicians it is through investigations that we will know” he concluded.