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Lagos car dealers protest ‘invasion’ by Customs

Car dealers in Lagos yesterday staged a peaceful protest over the continued sealing of their marts by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

The dealers, under the aegis of Automobile Dealers’ Friends Association (ADFA), stormed the Lagos State House of Assembly where a petition written to President Muhammadu Buhari was presented to the Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa.

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Customs and the car dealers especially in Lagos have been having a running battle over the closure of hundreds of car marts in the state.

The NCS said the car dealers should reconcile their papers and documents by paying the required duty on vehicles in their marts. But yesterday, the car dealers protested to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the Customs in Ikeja. They explained that their cars were cleared by agents accredited by Customs at the ports.

The protesters were carrying placards with inscriptions such as “Enough is Enough, Release our Shops”; “Customs, we are legitimate businessmen and women”; “We are not smugglers”; “EFCC, Investigate the Customs”; among others.

They however called on President Buhari, the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Speaker of the House, Mudashir Obasa to compel customs to unseal their premises.

President of the association, Mr. Morgan Ogbede decried what he called the “draconian” manner by which their shops were sealed.

He said, “Since the 30th day of September, 2019 when our business premises were arbitrarily sealed up, we have been unable to transact any business.

“We demand that the Nigeria Customs Service forthwith unseals all the business premises of the automobile dealers in Lagos State to enable us carry out our lawful businesses as Nigerian citizens.”

Two lawmakers – Hon. Bisi Yusuf (Alimisho 1) and Hon. Ganiu Okanlawon (Kosofe 1) received the petition on behalf of the speaker and promised to investigate and address the concerns of the car dealers.

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