Customs beef up security at borders, seize 5,998 vehicles worth N10bn

Hameed Ali

To effectively enforce the ban on the importation of vehicles through  the land borders, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it has  directed its Headquarters Compliance Team and Federal Operation Units  to join the resident officers of land borders to tackle violators of  the new policy.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col.  Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) who gave the order said, “Regrettably,  despite Nigeria’s bigger and more equipped port facilities, statistics  has shown that more than 90 per cent of vehicles imported to  neighbouring countries are normally on transit to Nigerian market.”

The statement by the acting PRO, Joseph Attah says over 10,000  vehicles are reportedly trapped within 10 days of the policy  enforcement. It notes that vehicles properly imported through the land  borders between January 2014 and December 2016 was only 209,691 with  N38.5billion paid as duty while it seized another 5,998 with duty paid  value of N10.2bn

Col. Ali maintains that although duty rates for vehicles at both land  borders and seaports are the same, importers exploit the informality  of land border trade and smuggle through the porous border or  compromise some Customs Officers.

He has charged the anti-smuggling squads to ensure total blockage such  that no desperate vehicle importer can smuggle any trapped vehicle.

Counting the gains of the policies, the Customs boss says the  channelling of vehicles to Sea Ports will enable suppression of  smuggling, and create business and job opportunities with the  emergence of bonded car parks in the country.

Other benefits include the emergence of bank branches and mechanic  villages around the bonded car parks to create more jobs, optimal use  of port facilities resulting from high vehicle cargoes, higher  revenues for governments, and promote collaboration for agencies  vehicle licencing and security agencies.

Col. Ali has also urged stakeholders to see the inherent benefits of  the policy and cooperate with the Nigeria Customs Service as personnel  strive to implement the fiscal policy of Government.