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Payment Of Import Duty On Personal Effects In Passenger’s Baggage Unlawful – Court




A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has declared that payment of import duty on passenger’s goods and personal effects is unlawful.

By this ruling, it is now unlawful for officers of the Nigerian Customs Service to demand and collect import duty from anyone for goods/personal effects found in their baggage. This is provided that such items are not meant for sale, barter or exchange.

This was the decision of the federal high court, Abuja. This was in a suit filed by Tunde  Adejumo on behalf of a senior advocate of Nigeria, Kehinde Ogunwumiju. Ogunwumiju challenged Nigerian Customs Service Board over infringement on his right to personal properties.

The Plaintiff had approached the Court seeking a declaration that in view of the provisions of Section 8 of the Customs, Excise Tariff Act and the 2nd Schedule to the Customs  Excise Tariff act. This says it was unlawful for officers of the NCS to have demanded and collect import duty and other related charges from any Nigerians in respect of there personal effect.

Ogunwumiju alleged the Customs searched his baggage. They then compelled him to pay duties on a computer bag. The bag was meant for his personal use. This happened when he returned to Nigeria on the 24th of June, 2019.

Justice John Tsoho in his judgment held that the customs have failed to establish credible evidence. That is, they could not establish that such was meant for sale, exchange or barter.  Therefore, import duty and other related charges in respect of such personal effect is unlawful, null and void.

The court also ordered that all duty paid to be refunded to the plaintiff. It also awarded a  sum of Five Million Naira as exemplary damages against customs.

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