Men of the Nigeria Customs Service on Monday sealed car dealers’ offices in Kaduna and Sokoto States. The Service was reportedly in search of vehicles smuggled through land borders. The Comptroller-General’s Strike Force and officers attached to the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ in Ikeja had earlier raided car dealers’ offices in Lagos.
Our reporter who visited car dealers’ offices in Mogadishu area of Kaduna reports that they were empty as dealers had removed their vehicles. It was gathered that the customs men warned that any dealer who reopened the sealed points would be fined N5m. Some of the sealed locations were KB Lamah Motors, Royalarms International Motors Limited, 2020 Motors, MD Parking Space , Urgent Motors Nigeria Limited, among others. Ladan Abubakar, a dealer, expressed dissatisfaction with the shutdown, saying “There was no notice given to us, in fact, we were caught unawares here.”
A similar operation had started in Sokoto on Monday. “They came to our place, took chassis numbers of all our vehicles before sealing up the premises,” one of the car dealers, Shafi’u Bankanu, said. He added that the same operation was taking place in Kebbi and Zamfara States as gathered from their colleagues. “They told us they would take away our vehicles whose duties were not paid,” he noted. Our reporter, who went round some of the car dealers’offices around 7:30 pm yesterday, observed operational vehicles of Customs, with armed operatives, were stationed at the gates of the premises. When contacted, the spokesman of the Sokoto Area Command of Customs, Magaji Mailafiya declined comment on the development.
However, a senior Customs
officer confided in Daily Trust that the operation was carried out by
the strike force of the Comptroller General of Customs not their men.
“They will collate the chassis number of vehicle to check if its duty is
paid or not,” he said. According to him, the operation is taking place
in all over the country. Meanwhile, vehicle dealers in Abuja yesterday
expressed the fear that they might be affected too.