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Smuggled vehicles: Senate halts new Customs directives on duty payment

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…Austin Obande
The Senate has directed the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) to stop all action on the recent directive to all owners vehicles within the Country whose customs duty has not been paid until they appear before the Senate Committee on Customs.
The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly also directed its committee on the service to investigate the all issues concerning the new directive and report back to the Senate.
The development follows a motion of urgent public importance raised by the Senate Deputy Majority Leader Bala Ibn Na’Allah.  He said the directive of the Nigeria Customs Service is too dangerous for a democratic society like Nigeria. “This kind of directive is to dangerous for a democratic society like Nigeria” Na’Allah said.
Na’Allah added that the issue is a serious matter and wonder where the Nigeria Customs Service got the power from to issue such directive. He urges his colleagues to take matter seriously.
In his contribution Senator Dino Melaye said it is ridiculous that the Nigeria Customs Service are asking owners of all vehicles for the duty payment of vehicles they did not import. He said motor dealers cannot evade duty payment without the satanic collaboration of customs officials.
Melaye further stated that the directive is another avenue for customs officials to start collecting N100 and N200 on the highways. “This is another avenue for customs officials to start collecting N100 and N200 on the highways” Melaye said.
The Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu who cited relevant session of the 1999 constitution said it is not the duty of the Nigeria Customs Service to make law in the country.
In his reaction, the Senate President Bukola Saraki said the motion is straight forward and it is the duty of the legislature to that the right thing is done.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) recently issue the directive that all motor dealers and private owners of vehicles within the Country whose customs duty has not been paid, to do so.
He called on all persons in possession of such vehicles to take advantage of the grace period to pay appropriate duties on them, as there will be an aggressive anti-smuggling operation to seize as well as prosecute owners of such smuggled vehicles after the deadline of Wednesday April 12, 2017


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