The Nigeria Customs Service says it adheres to standard operation procedure for auctioning of vehicles and other intercepted items.
The Acting Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr Abdullahi Maiwada said this in an interview in Abuja.
He said contrary to allegations in some quarters that seized vehicles were abandoned in different commands across the country, there were procedures for clearing them.
According to him, one of the procedures is that seized vehicles have to meet required window before they are considered for auctioning.
He said that once the first requirement was met, the list of vehicles would be sent to court for condemnation.
Maiwada said what happens after the matter was taken to court was not within the control of the service.
He said the service had no power to auction any vehicle until the court had given the go ahead.
“The reason auctioning is not as frequent as people expect is that there are procedures for clearing items for auctioning.
“We do not intercept items and go ahead to auction them.
“It takes sometime before we send them to court to be condemned for auction,” he said.
Maiwada also said auctioning was not frequent because,”the court process takes a while because these courts handle other cases.
“There are no specialised courts that handle the matter specifically.
“We also ensure that seized items do not have anything to do with litigation, particularly from owners of the items before they are auctioned,” he said.
The acting spokesperson said there were categories of cars that could be auctioned by the service.
According to him, vehicles that can be auctioned are those bought by Customs and those seized in contravention of Customs law.
Maiwada said vehicles seized in contravention of the law were categorised into Spec A, Spec B and Spec C.
“Spec A vehicles are allocated to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) based on Presidential directive.
“These MDAs are expected to pay the duty payable on those vehicles so that government does not lose revenue.
“The second category are the ones being uploaded on e-uction platform,” he said.
Maiwada said the third category of vehicles were the ones in bad condition.
He said some of the vehicles in the third category were the ones used for conveying smuggled items.
The acting spokesperson said the vehicles in bad condition were often disposed to licenced companies as scraps.