By Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Sokoto Command, comprising Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States, has impounded 48 vehicles with a duty paid value of N196.7 million.
The impounded vehicles included 20 Lexus Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) and 28 Toyota Avensis.
Addressing journalists in Sokoto Tuesday, the Customs Area Controller of the Command, Mr. Nasir Ahmed, disclosed that the vehicles were hidden in a premises at Rugan Waru area of Sokoto metropolis.
He said the command’s Strikeforce Team with the assistance of the Brigade Commander, Nigerian Army 1 Brigade Sokoto, during a raid recovered the vehicles last week.
According to him, the officers acted under the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, that empowers them to search premises and patrol freely.
Ahmed emphasised that the vehicles were smuggled through unapproved routes and without the payment of customs duties and other government levies to the federal government.
He urged the owner of the vehicles to come forward with valid customs documents, adding that failure to do so, the items would be liable to seizure and subsequent forfeiture to the federal government after 30 days.
“We are waiting for the owner of the vehicles to come forward with valid customs documents because the ultimatum of 30 days started from the day the vehicles were seized.
“If the owner fails to show up with the valid documents, then the vehicles would be forfeited to the federal government.
“He should go and pay the duty. In fact, he should produce evidence of duty payment to the federal government,” he said.
According to him, the command has embarked on investigation with a view to ascertaining the owner of the vehicles.