Auto dealers in Lagos whose businesses were affected by the recent crackdown by the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) have threatened to take legitimate steps towards drawing the attention of the Federal Government to their plight.
Speaking at a joint action committee meeting of concerned car dealers, the victims lamented the heavy toll the NCS’ shut-down of car showrooms and outlets to carry out investigative audit in respect of import duty payments is taking on the auto market.
The Interim National Coordinator of Professional Platform of Automobile, Amobi Moghalu, who addressed the press at the meeting, said car dealers have been suffering following the closure of their shops by the Customs “without due cause.”
Moghalu further stated, “We may choose to go the route of civil disobedience, knowing fully well that there is a limit to how many of us that the Custom can victimise, intimidate or maim. We may employ the time-tested method of dialogue with higher bodies and authorities, like the Supervising Ministry, National Assembly and other eminent personalities.”
He added that the members have been subjected to economic hardship. “We have not talked about the economic hardship these people are going through especially when you consider the economic state of the country.”
Also speaking, the interim Secretary, Ben Chijioke, further alleged incessant attacks on their businesses by the NCS, saying “It is not the first time our shops have been locked, but it is time to say ‘No’ to this harassment. We are tired of feeding those who do not care for us. These cars came out of the port and were cleared by the agency. If there was fraud, they should ask their officers and not close our shops. We are always at the losing end at all times.”
Barrister Joe Eboigbe, who was present at the meeting, told newsmen that taking legal action against the Customs is still within the law. “I advise the Customs to solve the problem because they have already committed an error and suing them should be the last result.”