Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has evacuated 27 Toyota Hilux pick-up vans with duty value of N432 million and suspected to have been smuggled into the country, from sales stands in Abuja.
Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs in-charge of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, Aminu Dangaladima, made the development known to newsmen in Abuja on Friday.
Mr Dangaladima said that the vehicles were evacuated at two car sales stands on Kubwa Expressway in Abuja.
He said that NCS under the on-going reforms had continued to improve in all aspects, especially in the areas of suppression of smuggling.
”On Wednesday, October 10, based on credible intelligence, operatives of NCS Compliance Team went to two open car stands along Kubwa Expressway in FCT and evacuated 27 Toyota Hilux pick-up vehicles suspected to be smuggled into the country.
”These vehicles have estimated Duty Paid Value, DPV, of over N432 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.
“For the avoidance of doubt, what we are doing is in-line with the provisions of Section 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA, Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (power to search premises).
“Section 154 CEMA, Cap 45 Laws of Federation of Nigeria (power to patrol freely).
“It must 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,” Mr Dangaladima said.
He said the service was making progress on investigations in illegal arms importation and had made some arrests.
The customs officer said the Comptroller-General of Customs would be on the entourage of President Muhammadu Buhari to Turkey for sideline bilateral meeting with the Turkish Customs Authority.
“This is with the aim to permanently deal and put an end to such deadly importation coming from Turkey,’’ he said.
Mr Dangaladima said the idea that one could abide by the laws of other countries and contravene Nigerian Laws on arrival would no longer be tolerated.
He said the Service would continue to contribute its quota to national economic development and security.
In September, NCS intercepted 18 exotic vehicles, including 13 bullet proof vehicles.
The service has also intercepted large consignments of arms at the ports in recent times.