About 2,000 units of vehicles are currently wasting away in various Customs warehouses and premises across the country, following the suspension of auction by the Nigeria Custom Service since August 2015, National Daily reports.
The vehicles which were seized by the NCS as part of its anti-smuggling drive, National Daily gathered are worth over N6bn, and had started depreciating in value as a result of disrepair occasioned by long abandonment.
Some of the vehicles were impounded along some inter-state highways when their owners could not produce proofs of import duty payment. Others were reportedly seized for being the mode of conveyance for smuggled items.
According to the NCS’ reports, some of the vehicles comprising cars, buses, trucks and tankers were intercepted during attempts to smuggle them into Nigeria. The Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali (retd.), suspended auction of seized goods, shortly after taking charge at the service in August 2015.
The seized vehicles, many of which have reportedly gone through a process of court condemnation and awaiting auction, are said to be at the border stations and various arms of the Federal Operation Units in Lagos, Owerri, Benin, Bauchi, Kaduna and Kano.
President Muhammadu Buhari had recently approved the distribution of seized rice to Internally Displaced Persons camps to address the food crises facing them.
The move by government was said to be aimed at preventing the rice from expiring or getting infested with weevils and other pests.
Spokesman for the NCS, Joseph Attah, was quoted as saying that the vehicle auctions were suspended by Ali to fine-tune the process for transparency.
He said, ‘’The CG suspended it to give room for transparency so that the new system will be without bias or favouritism. The new system is planned in such a way that people will be able to apply for auction online and the highest bidder gets it.