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The Nigeria Customs Service says it has seized 27 Toyota Hilux vehicles from two open car stands in Abuja over suspicion that the cars were smuggled into the country.
Aminu Dangaladima, a Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs, made this known during a press conference at the headquarters of the Service in Abuja.
Dangaladima said the operation was carried out by the NCS compliance team following credible intelligence report.
“On Wednesday 10th October 2017, based on credible intelligence, operatives of NCS Compliance Team went to two open car stands along Kubwa express-way in the Federal Capital Territory and evacuated 27 Toyota Hilux pick-up vehicles suspected to be smuggled into the Country,” Dangaladima said.
“These vehicles have estimated duty paid value (DPV) of over N432,000,000 million.
“We urge the owners of these vehicles to come forward with valid Customs clearance documents otherwise they will be liable to Seizure and subsequent Forfeiture to the Federal Government in-line with laws of the land.”
Dangaladima recalled that Hameed Ali, the Comptroller-General of Customs, had briefed the press about the interception of 18 exotic vehicles in Abuja, 13 of which were bullet proof.
“The Service under his (Ali’s) leadership will enforce the powers given in the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) effectively,” Dangaladima said.
“For the avoidance of doubt, what we are doing is in-line with the provisions of Sections 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (power to search premises), Section 158 of CEMA, Cap 45 Laws of Federation of Nigeria (power to patrol freely).
“It must also be understood that being in possession of smuggled items is an offence under Section 3 of Customs and Excise (special penal and other provision) Act Cap 47 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
With regards to the hundreds of pump action guns seized by the customs at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos, Dangaladima said more progress is being recorded.
“More arrests have been made and the CGC will be on the entourage of Mr. President to Turkey for sideline bilateral meeting with the Turkish Customs Authority,” he said.
“This is with the aim to permanently deal and put an end to such deadly importation coming from Turkey.
“NCS under the on-going reforms has continued to improve in all aspects, especially in the areas of suppression of smuggling.
“The idea that one can comply with laws of other countries and contravene Nigerian Laws on arrival here can no longer be tolerated.
“NCS will continue to contribute its quota to National economic development and security.”