By Saby Onyenwe, Owerri
The men of the Nigeria Customs Services have impounded 22 exotic cars including armoured vehicles of various models, bags of foreign rice bearing an overall Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N591 million, the items were impounded by the Benin Mobile Patrol Team of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The were two Toyota Land Cruiser of 2014 and 2016 models with DPV of N60, 750,000 and N76, 167, 850 respectively, Toyota Land Cruiser of 2017 model (DPV N81, 700,000), 2018 Toyota Hilux model with a DPV of N95, 650,000 as well as a Range Rover 2007 model bearing a DPV of N10, 268,013.
Others were 2014 two Mercedes Benz models DPV N12, 351, 670 and N14, 482, 988 respectively, a 2016 Honda pilot model which had a DPV of N14, 836, 290 as well as a Toyota 4 Runner 2016 model with a DPV of N17, 864, 456.
Olusemire Kayode, Unit Area Controller who this while briefing newsmen on the seizures at the Benin premises of the NCS also listed a Mercedes Benz ML 550 2013 model which had a DPV of N13, 348, a Range Rover Evoque 2015 model (DPV N16,771, 860), two Toyota Camry cars of 2018 and 2012 models with DPV of N10, 143,670 and N7,114, 573 DPVs, a 2008 Toyota Hiace bus model DPV N10,539, 725, in addition to a Toyota high Lander 2009 model with a DPV of N4, 927,200.
Olusemire stated that six suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures which took place between the Onitsha and Benin axis and would soon be charged to court.
Aside the seized imported costly vehicles whose duties were not paid, the customs Unit Area Controller disclosed that 675 and 1,296 bags of 50kg foreign rice smuggled into the country had also been confiscated in Calabar and Enugu.
He warned Nigerians to desist from the business of importation of exotic expensive cars and evasion of payment of duties on such cars, lamenting that this had continued to sabotage the nation’s economy. “These cars do not have valid documents and the end user certificate is necessary to ascertain the authentic owners so that they do not get into the wrong hands.
We are ever ready to intercept any vehicle imported and the owners of such vehicles should be prepared to pay duties on them. From the car dealers, ask of the C N0 which is usually at the right hand corner of the assessment declaration”
The Unit Area Controller frowned at the continuous importation of foreign rice into the country noted that this had continued to frustrate government’s efforts to encourage local production of the commodity.
While appealing to those involved in the unpatriotic act of smuggling contraband goods to desist forthwith, he advised Nigerians to always make us of customs website for information on the activities and operations of the establishment.