The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col Ahmed Ali (Rtd) says time is now for Nigeria to reduce the number of used vehicles being shipped into the country because they are not roadworthy and constitute a danger to the citizens.
Ali said that such vehicles moved at 200 metres per hour and often died or stopped on the road, adding that the time had come when only roadworthy vehicles would be allowed with the required duties paid to the country.
Ali disclosed this while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Customs, to defend the 2021 budget of his department in Abuja during the week.
Ali stressed that the Nigeria Customs’ consideration was to only have roadworthy vehicles coming into the country. “We hope our automotive industry will work in order to start reducing the number of used vehicles in the country,” he said.
The customs boss decried the activities of smugglers and disclosed the Customs was working with the Republic of Benin to ensure that goods meant for Nigeria followed approved routes.
He also said that the NCS would not be able to stop arms smuggling on its own, rather, the service needed the support of all, adding that the Service decided to be going public on prosecuting the smugglers because the Service was accused of not prosecuting smugglers.
“These smugglers are in our community, we must fight them together,” he said.
On the issue of scanners to be installed to curtail the activities of smugglers, Ali disclosed that the Ministry of Finance had purchased three scanners to be deployed to the nation’s borders, in addition to a pledge by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide more scanners that would be deployed at the nation’s air, sea and land borders.
Rep Ibrahim Bukar, a member of the committee, however, disagreed with the CGC on used vehicles, stating that most vehicles brought into Nigeria were not rickety as stated.
He said that many have become rickety because they got bad on the road due to the wear and tear nature of the vehicles.
According to him, not many Nigerians could afford to buy new vehicles because they were very expensive, so the fairly used vehicles should be allowed to come in after paying the prescribed duty.
Rep Leke Abejide, the chairman of the committee, said that the committee would meet with the CBN Governor, the Minister of Finance and the Comptroller General of Customs, to proffer solutions to the issue of scanners, which had been unnecessarily delayed.