· Dismantles vehicle evaluation points, redeploys officers
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has dashed growing expectations that the government’s ban on the importation of vehicles through the land borders may be lifted.
The NCS declared on Monday that the decision is irreversible.
Stakeholders in the sector and other prominent Nigerians have pleaded with the government to either lift the ban or extend the deadline by three months.
But the management of the NCS yesterday said that the policy has come to stay and ordered its men and officers to go after anyone who attempts to smuggle any vehicle via the land borders across the country.
Two days after the government began the enforcement of the policy on January 1, 2017, The AUTHORITY reported that thousands of uncleared vehicles were trapped at the borders.
In an exclusive interview with The AUTHORITY on Monday, the NCS National Deputy Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Attah, said that all the land borders were now under surveillance by officers and men of the agency.
He said no vehicle had been allowed into Nigeria through the land borders since January 1, 2017 when the enforcement commenced.
Attah said: “As I speak to you, no vehicle is allowed into Nigeria through the land borders. Our men and officers are on ground to ensure compliance across all the borders.”
The NCS spokesman said that there was no need for the question on the number of vehicles impounded because “no room is being given for smugglers to operate.”
Atta said the existing enforcement tempo would be maintained while security at the various land borders would be fortified against smugglers.
The AUTHORITY gathered that most of the vehicle evaluation points located in the border commands of NCS across the country have been disbanded and the officers redeployed to beef up border patrols for the effective implementation of the ban.
President Muhammadu Buhari had also directed the NCS to stop the importation of rice via land borders.
In a statement issued on December 5, 2016 the NCS said: “The importation of vehicles into Nigeria through the land borders has been banned by the Federal Government. The prohibition order covers all new and used vehicles.
“The ban is sequel to a Presidential Directive restricting all vehicle imports to Nigerian Sea Ports only. The order takes effect from 1st January, 2017.
“The restriction on importation of vehicles follows that of rice, whose imports have been banned through the land borders since April 2016.
The prohibition order had urged importers of vehicles through the land borders to use the grace period until 31st December, 2016 to clear their vehicle imports landed in neighbouring ports.
However, many such importers had apparently failed to heed the deadline, leading to the trapping of thousands of uncleared vehicles at the nation’s various key land borders.