The Federal High Court, Abuja on Friday, granted the request of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to condemn and auction three cars in it’s custody that have been unclaimed for over one year.
Counsel to the service, Mr Umar Lawal who approached the court through an ex parte motion said that the motion was necessary as part of efforts to generate revenue for government.
“We are praying the court for the following reliefs;
“An order that the vehicles listed be condemned as forfeited to the applicant.
“An order authorizing the applicant to sell the said vehicles to the members of the public and the proceeds realized from such sale be remitted to the Federal Government Treasury.
“The vehicles were arrested in 2021 and have been there beyond the one month which the owners are expected to bring papers of proper importation and payment of duty.
” The vehicles have been under the sun all this while and are getting rusted because of the elements of the weather and depriving government of revenue,” Lawal told the court
He said that the vehicles were intercepted in Abuja and no claim has been made by anyone.
The lawyer said that the NCS would publicise the order of court allowing the auction to show its sincerity and transparency.
The vehicles comprise a Toyota Land Cruiser, with Chassis No. JTEB X9FJ3L5108348, a Toyota Hiace bus 2014 Model with Chassis No. JTGJXO2P9ECOS7 060 and a white Toyota Hilux, 2021 Model with Chassis No.MROBX8CD2M283 4123.
In a supporting affidavit deposed to by Onakpya Obererri, an Assistant Inspector of Customs, the vehicles are said to be detained at the government Ware house Karu within the jurisdiction of the court.
The deponent said that there was no litigation over the items which remained unclaimed for over one month as required by the law.
” I have the authority and consent of the applicant herein to depose and swear to all the facts herein stated in the exhibit marked‘A’.
“That on the orders and instructions of the Comptroller-General of the NCS as regards the issue of combating and/or eradicating the menace of smugglers in Abuja and its environs, whose activities constitute great danger to the health and viability of the Nigerian economy, these seizures were made.
“That for over 30 days now the vehicles remain unclaimed after the expiration of the statutory period allowed for clearance at Nigeria Customs Service Ware House, Karu, Abuja.
The judge, Justice Zainab Abubakar granted the request saying the permission was based on the depositions of the applicant particularly where he said the order would be publicised.