Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) seize 3,491 Tokunbo Vehicles worth ₦2 billion in the first quarters of 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Seized vehicles were brought into the country illegally between the first quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2023.
Reacting to the seizures, founder of AREFFN blamed the constant increase in the tariff of imported vehicles for smuggling.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) seized a total of 3,491 second-hand vehicles (Tokunbo) smuggled into the country between the first quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2023, according to a document obtained exclusively by Sunday PUNCH.
According to the document, the Duty Paid Value (DPV) for the seizures amounted to over ₦2 billion Naira, including a DPV of ₦501m for a total of 304 vehicles seized in Q1 2021.
The document also showed that Nigeria Customs Service seized 3,039 vehicles with DPV of ₦699m in the first quarter of 2022 while 148 vehicles with DPV of ₦863m were seized in the same period of 2023.
Speaking on the seizures, a Customs officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated that the vehicles seized in Q1 2023 has the highest DPV despite being the fewest probably because they are more expensive than the ones that came in 2021 and 2022.
The source said :
“If a vehicle is used to convey smuggled items in contravention of the law, it will be seized. A vehicle that was improperly imported, imported through an unapproved route or a vehicle that was used to smuggle non-customs items will definitely be seized, that is what the law states.
“The importation of those vehicles is only allowed through the seaports. So, anybody who tries to import a vehicle through the land borders is engaging in smuggling and such vehicles will be seized. All vehicles are supposed to come in through Nigerian seaports. All the vehicles that were seized were in contravention of various Customs laws.”
Reacting to the seizures, the founder of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN), Mr Frank Ukor, blamed the constant increase in the tariff of imported vehicles for smuggling. He advised importers to ensure that appropriate duties were paid on imported used vehicles.
He stated :
“The reason is simple; the government keeps increasing the tariff on these vehicles. To an average importer, the duty is high and if you add it to the amount they spend in buying the cars, they may not be able to sell them. So, they decide to look for unapproved routes, where it will be cheaper to bring in the vehicles; that is the problem.
“The importers fail to realise that they will be the ultimate loser. If at the end of the day the Customs intercept the vehicles, it is an automatic seizure and the money they spend on buying such vehicles will be wasted.”