Association of Automobile Dealers in the country has asked the Nigeria Customs Service to open their sealed car mart and request a 10bn compensation fee within 30 days or be ready to face court action.
Recently on 29th September, Nigeria Customs Service embarked on sealing off car marts across the nation to combat the act of smuggling of cars.
The car dealers, who described the action in September as illegal, made the N10bn demand in a pre-action letter written to the Comptroller General of customs by their lawyer, Mr. Monday Ubani.
The letter, copies of which were sent to the Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives and the Attorney General of the Federation, read,
“We must state here with all sense of responsibility and patriotism that the action of the Nigeria Customs officers in this regard is a demonstration of gross irresponsibility, unprecedented impunity and abuse of power.
“Though the Nigeria Customs and Excise Management Act gives you the power to examine, mark, seal and take account of any goods; in this case, you did not examine, mark, seal and take account of the particular vehicles identified as not being properly cleared, but rather sealed the entire premises without any form of examination or inspection of papers.
“Take notice, therefore, that you have 14 days from the day you receive this letter to unseal all our clients members’ business premises to enable them carry out their lawful businesses as Nigerian citizens.”
It added, “Take further notice that you have a period of 30 days from the date you receive this letter to pay a compensation of N10bn to our clients for the severe hardship, suffering, embarrassment, loss of business, physical, mental and psychological torture and trauma your arbitrary, lawless and inconsiderate action has caused our clients and their families, failing which our client shall be left with no other option but to seek redress through a competent court of law.”
On the other hand, the LCCI (Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry) has frowned at the Nigeria Customs Service over the shutting of the car marts.
In the statement signed on Sunday by its Director-General, Mr Muda Yusuf, LCCI stated, “Investors should not be treated as culpable when infractions have not been proven against them. Verification processes should be done with minimal disruptions to the operations of companies.”
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