10 July 2014

Nigeria: Govt to Impound Vehicles Without Customs Clearance

Photo: Pedro Ribeiro Simões
New cars (file photo).

Imported vehicles without proper customs clearance are to be impounded by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), President Goodluck Jonathan gave the directives yesterday. Such vehicles are to be released to owners, after all duties are paid. Jonathan's directives was sequel to the Corps-Marshal of the FRSC, Osita Chidoka, presentation of an update on Nigeria's Status on the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Briefing State House correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting, Chidoka said the directives would guarantee accurate data on registered cars in the country, as well as ensuring that all necessary fees are paid to the customs. "People come to us and present their customs duty paper that they have paid for it and we register it. But now we are no longer taking that paper, we are no linked with the customs clearance platform. "So the data of all the cars that have validly entered into the country through the customs system is already domicile in our system. So when we enter your chasis number and that car does not come up into the system then we have to get you to get a genuine customs papers because what they carry are fake papers.

"So we have been able to do that for the insurance industry. If you notice now if you register your car with the new, number, they will tell you to bring your e-policy because all the insurance policy are required to update their policy to a database while we verify it. "Now any car that carries the new number plate, that goes through registration would have valid insurance. That is what we want to do with the customs licence. "Initially, our plans was when you are caught we ask you to go back to customs but with the feedback from the President today, that is not enough. We need to hold that car, investigate how it entered into the country without going through the normal process. So we will modify the process to include the customs in that process," Chidoka stressed.

Speaking on his presentation to FEC, Chidoka said the FRSC had recorded tremendous progress in its quest to make Nigerian roads among the 20 safest in the world by 2020. He noted that Nigeria had assumed a role model for African countries on road safety. He said since his assumption of office in 2007, the corps' personnel had increased from 11,000 to 19,000; patrol vehicles from 170 to over 800; and ambulances from 10 to 52.

President Goodluck Jonathan was earlier decorated as Grand Patron of the Special Marshals Unit of the FRSC, the first time such an investiture ceremony was actually performed on a Nigerian president. Meanwhile, the FEC also heard a presentation from Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, on the ministry's performance do far. Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said Wike's presentation showed that the education ministry was able to improve greater access to education, greater funding and more investment in education; as well as improved facilities and infrastructure in primary and tertiary institutions.

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