The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) confirmed on Thursday that its officials raided Fraser Suites, a five-star hotel in Abuja, on Wednesday night in search of cars smuggled into the country.
Customs spokesman, Joseph Attah, said the hotel was raided after a total of ten smuggled cars were identified.
He said four of the cars have been seized while six were still parked at the hotel premises.
He said, “Our men got wind that some cars were smuggled in and they were being taken to the hotel, in their car park. So we went to the place and invited their managers. We left with four of the cars and six are still there.
“This morning the manager followed us to our office and he wrote an undertaken that if he can provide the papers, we will release the cars to them.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Services has continued it clamp down on car dealers in the country as it sealed six car marts in Kebbi State.
The state Financial Secretary of Motor Dealers Association of Nigeria, and Managing Director, Ajala Motors, Alhaji Faruk Ajala, made this known while fielding questions from newsmen in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday.
“On October 1 Customs officials descended on our car stands, sealed off our business premises without issuing any notice of an operation to confiscate vehicles without valid Custom duties,” he said.
Ajala said the raid by Customs officials caused commotion and panic among members because of the way they were shooting at the tyres of the vehicles during the raid.
“On hearing that Customs men were sealing car stands, my boys were afraid.
“When the Customs came to my business premises they shot at the tyres of my two vehicles claiming that my boys wanted to drive them away.
“Although what my boys did was wrong by trying to run away from the Customs with the vehicles, the Customs were also wrong to shoot at the vehicles. The vehicles they shot at have valid original customs duties,” he said.
He called for an understanding between the NCS and their association, adding that they were partners who contribute to the economic development of the country through revenue generation.
“Our members are ready to amicably resolve the issue of duty payment as long the government reduces the amount paid on duties.”
Ajala appealed to the government to intervene in the matter so that their business premises would be reopened.
“I have over 40 youths in my company who receive salaries. Imagine what will happen if this place continues to remain shut,” he said.
When contacted, the NCS Zonal PRO in Kaduna, Ado Abdulkarim, said the operation was in line with “Operation Border Drill” embarked upon by the service and other security agencies.
“The car stands raid was done all over the country to ensure that cars are properly registered and duties paid into government coffers,” he said.
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