Retired Col. Hameed Ali, Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Thursday said the closure of Nigeria’s borders by Federal Government was undertaken to strengthen the nation’s security and protect its economic interests.

Retired Colonel Hameed Ali, the Controller General of Customs, has said that owners of vehicles impounded in recent raid of car dealers’ shops for not paying customs duty could come forward to pay and take their cars.

Operatives of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone B in conjunction with the Strike Force of Nigeria Customs Service recently sealed about 110 car shops in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Ilorin, Sokoto, Kebbi and other cities in the North.

This is part of a renewed anti-smuggling campaign aimed at ensuring compliance with import guidelines

Confirming the development, Mustafa Sarkin-Kebbi, controller of the unit, said the clamp down on the car shops was in exercise of the extant laws empowering customs operatives to enter any building suspected to have smuggled items.

Sarkin-Kebbi said the Controller General of Customs had approved that owners of vehicles found to be without proof of duty payment could come forward to pay and collect their vehicles.

He disclosed further that his men were applying tact, intelligence and cooperation in the fight against smuggling as, according to him, smugglers were planting informants around customs operatives to compromise and circumvent their anti-smuggling duties.

“The Controller General, Col. Hameed Ali, has graciously approved that owners of vehicles that have not paid duty and are affected by our raids, can come forward to pay and collect their vehicles.

“This is a window of opportunity for owners of smuggled vehicles to come forward and pay Customs duty to avoid forfeiture.”

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