National Association of Automobile Marketers (NAAM) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter between auto dealers in the country and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). 

The group appealed to the President to unseal the premises of all the automobile dealers that were shut down by the Customs. 

[READ MORE: LCCI condemns Nigeria Customs Service shutdown of car marts]

In a statement made available to the public, the auto dealers’ association maintained that the Customs have no constitutional right to seal their premises. The group also said that none of its members was involved in smuggling and so did not possess any smuggled vehicles, yet their businesses were shut down.  

The statement read that the NCS’s action was not backed by any order of the court as the Customs and Excise Management Act did not give the Customs the right to seal off business premises without first identifying contraband goods within the premises 

The group made known that if at all any action should be carried out to get rid of smuggled vehicles, it should be from the Customs licensed clearing agents and the NCS and not marketers because they are in charge of the documentation of automobiles imported through the Nigerian Seaport.  

“It is very important to note that before the seal off, no court order was obtained, neither was any notice issued to us. We did not receive any communication or correspondence from the Nigeria Customs Service informing us of the reasons behind the seal off. 

“We are also conscious and well aware of our rights and should our premises continue to remain shut, we shall be constrained to enforce our rights and seek legal redress,” the statement read.  

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[READ ALSO: Commentary on tariff hikes and Nigeria Customs’ rising revenue]

Recall that 272 car marts were shut down by the NCS as part of a crackdown to catch auto dealers who sell smuggled vehicles. The raid was conducted across the country in Lagos, FCT, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi.

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