The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has accused ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of acquiring many escort vehicles they use from smugglers.
Aliyu Saidu, NCS assistant comptroller-general (ACG) in charge of ICT/modernisation, disclosed this on Tuesday, when he appeared before the house of representatives committee on customs.
Leke Abejide, chairman of the committee, narrated how he had an encounter with smugglers, who import vehicles into the country, thereby denying the government import duties.
Abejide said: “Let me give you a scenario of myself; I told DCG Talatu. I said I have vehicles for my own use; that I bought and I shipped them,”
“The person who shipped it told me that there is a way they can do it for me not to pay the correct duty.
“I said not me. How much is the money? If I have money to buy this vehicle, how much is the duty that I will not be able to pay?”
Responding, Saidu said: “I can’t thank enough the honourable member that raised this issue on vehicles. Nigeria Customs Service needs your support in this regard,”
“Unfortunately, today, the big men in Nigeria — I didn’t say national assembly members — all their escort vehicles (Hilux) are smuggled vehicles.
“MDAs — ministries and departments of government — today, patronise smuggled Hilux. And that is why if you see our system, Hilux importation has dropped, but you will find them in hundreds in town. Mostly, they use them as escorts.”
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