A former President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Dr. Eugene Nweke has said that until the government starts licensing automobile dealers, car smuggling into Nigeria will continue to thrive.
Dr. Nweke, who spoke recently in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos, warned smugglers to desist from the act as he said that there is no hiding place for anyone who is into vehicle smuggling.
“There is no hiding place for smugglers, there is no hiding place for any man who is importing all these things and saying that as a dealer it cannot be licensed. I don’t want to believe that it is difficult to license auto dealers; it is about the political will and determination to do that. If we continue to hide under the guess that it is difficult to license auto dealers, then we will continue to open doors for smuggling” ,he posited.
He also said that licensing automobile dealers is the easiest thing to do as there is a record of all the vehicles that are coming into the country.
“They are the easiest people to license. Apart from Customs, the Nigeria Bureau for Statistics also has data on all the vehicles that are coming into this country in the past 20 years. So now every cargo that has come into this country or has been billed to come to this country it must be conveyed through a means and that means it will come through shipping. And each must come through an entry port or frontier either a boundary station or seaport, he stated.
Speaking further, he added that: “Vehicles mostly are not shipped by air, more than 90% come through the sea and when they come through the sea, they must interface with another mode of transport. And during these movements there is a security check were information are documented. Every vehicle that comes into this country, there is vehicle licensing authority and the vehicle must be registered and the mark number of the dealer must be obtained. If not that vehicle will be pounded because it will be seen to be stolen therefore every dealer must work to get the permit”.
He also blamed bad administration as one of the reasons why it seems difficult to register vehicles.
“It is about administrative prowess of those who are saddled with such a responsibility. Then the other way if you go to the Nigerian customs at any border, the service is s regional warehousing, trainer and representative of Interpol. Every vehicles chassis number you put on that customs system will tell you the history of the vehicle and where the vehicle is. It is software developed, managed by the Nigerian customs and donated by Interpol. It will keep the time of the production of the vehicle till wherever the vehicle is parked currently”, he concluded.