Chedi Wada, Comptroller, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone “B”, Kaduna, has lamented that smugglers have been using fake presidential number plates to deliver vehicles across the country.
He also said the criminals had been dubiously using such fake number plates belonging to various state and local governments, MDAs, Emirate Councils, and other governmental institutions.
Wada disclosed this when he received Bashir Rabe-Mani, Zonal Manager, News Agency of Nigeria, Kaduna Zonal Office, who paid him a courtesy call in Kaduna.
“Customs will not relent; we will continue to do our best by not allowing smugglers to use the old tactics of using the presidential number plates and other governmental institutions to smuggle luxurious vehicles into the country.
“This is one of the menaces we are having. It is saddening how vehicle smugglers are ridiculing the apex seat in the country by using presidential fake number plates on newly smuggled cars to deceive customs,” he told NAN.
According to him, customs are well-trained personnel and can easily identify fake numbers and cannot be played by the old tricks.
The comptroller said, “We are not happy with them, it is too bad for them to be playing with the presidency, that’s why we always put a heavy hammer on those using the presidency on false instances on smuggled vehicles.
“Let them respect the presidency, we must respect the presidency that is leadership.”
Wada also disclosed that the service had impounded a lot of such vehicles with fake number plates including those of local governments, ministries, and other government institutions.
The comptroller said that the service was committed to saving Nigeria’s economy by bringing smugglers down to the ground by suppressing their activities.
Wada said that the media had been assisting the service in explaining what they were doing to the public.
“Some will say customs will come to their houses to take contraband, but all this will be amplified through the media on what the rules and regulations are.
“According to the Act of Customs, on getting intelligence, customs can enter the premises and take contraband away, possibly arrest and prosecute.
“People expect customs to notify them of any planned seizure at their houses or shops or arrest. If I inform you that I am coming, what stops you from taking away the exhibit.”
Earlier in his remarks, Rabe-Mani said the visit was aimed at improving the already existing relationship between NAN and NCS.
He also sought continuous collaboration to ensure that smuggling and other nefarious acts of economic sabotage within the zone were successfully suppressed.