Nairametrics | Vehicle owners nationwide can heave a sigh of relief as the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria yesterday passed a resolution instructing the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to stop its plan to fine Nigerians who have not paid the duties on their imported vehicles in one month.
The issue was brought to the fore by the Deputy Leader, Bala Na’Allah, who said the new Customs policy was “a serious matter” that requires adequate consideration by all stakeholders before such a drastic plan is brought into action.
Similarly speaking on the matter, Senator Dino Melaye noted that importing vehicles required the clearance of Customs was not possible, hence such an ultimatum is a means of pushing their lapses onto innocent car buyers.
Based on these comments and more, the Senate mandated that the NCS stops all actions with regard to the matter until it appears before the Senate’s Committee on Customs. With this, the threat of Customs officials to seize imported vehicles without duty papers and prosecute their owners has been stayed.
The FG and the NCS had earlier resorted to prosecuting all vehicle owners whose vehicles did not have duty papers as a measure to curbing the high rate of vehicle smuggling into the country. However, the Senate’s comments acknowledge the fact that in most cases, the NCS officials themselves are more culpable in the act than innocent Nigerians who purchase these vehicles. How long this stay of action will last depends on how well the NCS can defend its position to the Senate.