The Nigerian Customs Service, for millions of second-hand vehicles owners – popularly known as Tokunbo, has become something of an anathema.
The agency, though saddled with the responsibility of managing and/or protecting our somewhat porous borders, has become somehow lukewarm in its original responsibilities and substituting its weakness to explainable acts our roads. Rather than managing our borders from influx of unregistered vehicles and other goods, the agency has turned our roads into avenues where vehicles are impounded with impunity.
It is somehow strange that Nigerian Customs have decided not to stop vehicles from crossing our borders illegally but find it convenient to waylay motorists on the road and impound their vehicles.
These vehicles are brought in by motor dealers who display their wares for everybody to see and buy.
These are pertinent questions that the Nigerian Customs need to answer:
- What stops The Customs from raiding motor dealers that brought these vehicles in illegally?
- How do these vehicles get into the country without their knowledge?
- Why is it that vehicles are permanently impounded from unsuspected buyers without option of fine?
- Who are the beneficiaries of impounded vehicles?
- How long/how many years does it take a vehicle supposedly brought in illegally to be free of being impounded?
- How is the auctioning of impounded cars done? Is it by advertisement or for favoured few and friends of the Customs?
- What stops the Customs from locating the addresses of dealers that issue fake custom papers and charge them to court for fraud and impersonation?
My treatise was predicated on what happened recently. A friend’s car was impounded at Ewekoro area of Ogun State in August 2011 (that car was bought in Lagos and custom papers were issued to the unsuspecting owner). At that same spot, a motor dealer known to them escorted a caravan of vehicles, paid them on the spot and all vehicles were allowed to go. Who is this man? Is that payment official?
It is essential that the agency gets its priority right and stop creating problems for unsuspecting vehicle owners. Raid and arrest these motor dealers that bring in vehicles illegally, if truly you are not in connivance with them.