Auto Dealers Decry Clampdown by Customs Officers in Katsina

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Francis Sardauna in Katsina

Major car dealers in Katsina State have condemned the shutting down of their auto shops by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in search of cars smuggled through the land borders, as harassment and an attempt to label them as car smugglers.

THISDAY reliably gathered that over 20 car marts were sealed off by NCS in Katsina, the state capital.

The dealers, who lamented over what they described as huge business loss, told our correspondent yesterday in Katsina that the action of the NCS would run counterproductive to the federal government’s foreign investment drive.

One of the car dealers who spoke to THISDAY on the condition of anonymity, said: “We don’t understand what is happening. We cooperate with all agencies of government and if the NCS needs any information about our business, they ought to ask instead of sealing off our auto shops.

“The NCS should be aware that Nigeria is not under a military regime where businesses are shut down without notice. We are not smugglers. We bring in our cars through the ports and pay a huge amount of money.”

Another car dealer who also pleaded anonymity condemned the clampdown by the NCS and denied selling smuggled cars in the state.

He said: “I can tell you that none of us know what the problem is. They just came and locked all the shops up and walked away. We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the NCS to order.”