The National Association of Automobile Marketers (NAAM) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan to prevail on the Nigeria Customs Service to cause an immediate unsealing of the premises of all automobile dealers without any further delay.
It would be recalled that men of the Nigeria Customs Service carried out a wholesale clamp down on automobile dealerships nationwide with the sealing of all members’ premises on September 2019.
The association who made the call in a statement signed by its Secretary, Joseph Iriah, said no court order was obtained, neither was any notice issued to its members from the Custom Service informing them of the reasons behind the said sealing of the members premises.
The group said it was informed that the exercise was carried out with a view to ascertain if smuggled vehicles were in the respective premises and that within a few days the issue would be resolved after the verification of the importation documents of the automobiles in the sealed premises.
It noted that none of its members was involved in smuggling.
The statement reads in part: “We are also conscious and well aware of our rights at law and should our premises continue to remain shut, we shall be constrained to enforce our rights and seek legal redress by commencing legal proceedings against the Nigeria Customs Services which would naturally come with damages for the huge amount of losses we have suffered.
“Consequently, we are at a loss as to why we should bear the brunt of this draconian, ill-conceived and drastic blanket action.
“Even though we have been groaning under a cocktail of duties, multiple levies, taxes and terminal charges that have made the landing cost of automobiles into Nigeria the most expensive in the world. We are particularly burdened by the 35% automotive industry levy payable after the stipulated 35% import duty.
“As patriotic Nigerians, we stand with Nigerian Customs Service in their drive for increased revenue and their determination to curb smuggling.
“Even as we commend the determination of the Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hammed Ali (rtd), to introduce international best practices in the process of clearing goods at our ports in the face of the chaotic state of affairs, we believe that due process should be followed without jeopardizing the businesses of thousands of law abiding automobile dealers by this brazen and blanket clampdown.”