The Nigeria Customs Service has given vehicle importers and owners one month ultimatum to pay up duty on their imported vehicles or have them impounded by operatives of the service.

A statement issued by the acting Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr. Joseph Attah in Abuja Thursday, said that he Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) has approved a grace period of one month.

Under the one month grace period, the importers and vehicle owners vehicles within the country whose customs duty has not been paid have been given between Monday March, 13 and Wednesday, April 12, 2017 to do so.

The statement reads in part: “Consequently, all motor dealers and private owners of such vehicles are advised to visit the nearest Customs Zonal Office to pay the appropriate Customs Duty on them”.

“For the avoidance of doubt, all private car owners who are not sure of the authenticity of their vehicles customs documents can also approach the Zonal Offices to verify with a view to complying with the provision of the law”.

The Comptroller General therefore called on all persons in possession of such vehicles to take advantage of the grace period to pay appropriate duty on them.

It was also gathered that the service would embark on an aggressive anti-smuggling operation, which would focus attention on imported vehicles with a view to impounding them and possibly prosecute owners of such vehicles suspected to be smuggled.

Records however show that the service has four Zonal Offices in Yaba, Lagos, Kabala Doki, Kaduna; Nigeria Ports Authority, Port Harcourt and Yelwa Tudu Road, Bauchi State.

The service had in the last few years intensified their anti-vehicle smuggling operations across the country, especially along the Benin –Ore Road, which led to the seizure of many vehicles.

Unsuspecting members of the public, who bought their vehicles from genuine vehicle dealers without knowing that the appropriate duty was not paid have been recounting their ordeals in the hand of operatives of the service, as some of such vehicles have to be impounded on the way.

Members of the public have therefore called on the management of the service to provide a platform that would enable prospective vehicle buyers to crosscheck whether the appropriate duty has been paid or not before purchase.