Following recent disagreements over what qualifies a vehicle to be classified as accidented, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said that for a vehicle to be regarded as accidented, it has to fall under certain category.
The Public Relations Officer, PTML Area command, Mr. Mohammed Yakubu who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen recently in Lagos said that a vehicle could only be termed accidented when the chasis or the airbag of the vehicle was affected.
Yakubu said, “If for instance, you have a dent at the back of the car or maybe the bumper of the car is not there or it has been dented from the side of car, you can’t call it accidented, it has to affect chasis or airbag of the car.”
He observed that there were laid down processes and procedure one had to go through in order to get certification from the Service that his or her vehicle falls under accidented vehicle.
In his words, “There is a process one has to follow in order to certify his vehicle as accidented, you cannot go and examine and call a car accidented. You have to apply; you have to examine to see what qualifies it as accidented before you can call it accidented. So, there is a process.”
On whose job it is to confirm that a vehicle is accidented or not, he said, “We have examination officers, we have them everywhere and that is why they are there. You have to apply, they have to see, the releasing officer has to go there and witness it; it has a process. So you have to follow that process. So, if it is not actually accidented, because of that process, you won’t even follow the process because if you do, before you get to the middle of the process, you will be cut down.”
Speaking on whose position takes pre-eminence in case of disagreement between officers of the Service and importers or their agents, the command’s spokesman stated, “Customs has the final say. That is why we are in the port, we have the final say and we have a process, we have a guideline, we have our valuation officers, we have our tariff, CEMA. So, nobody can just come and tell you that it is accidented while it is not accidented because it has a process.”
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I write to commend the CPRO of PTML Command SC Yakubu on this lucid clarification which is expected to put to rest the age long/lingering controversy over what constitutes an accidented vehicle between and among the customs officers , the trading public and the customs licenced agents.