The Nigeria Customs Service has reemphasized that passengers passing through any Nigeria international airports can only be allowed to go through with goods or items with only N50,000 or less current market value. Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hamid Ali (retd) This clarification was made by the Public Relations Officer of the Service, DC Joseph Attah on behalf of the Comptroller-General of Customs.
According to Attah, the clarification became necessary following a “misleading narrative on the social media by a woman who claimed that she was ill-treated at the Abuja Airport by Customs on the bases of her gender and tribe because she was asked to pay duty on a personal item she brought into the country.
Attah said: “The attention of the Nigeria Customs Service has been drawn to a misleading narrative by a woman(name withheld) whose claim of being ill-treated at the airport on the bases of her gender, tribe or where she comes from is going viral on the social media”. “The woman arrived the country aboard BA083 at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja had claimed that she was singled out and slammed with Customs Duty payment for one pair of shoes and “a mini boy bag” that should have been allowed to pass freely as personal effects”. “There is therefore the need to make public what actually transpired to put the record straight, especially as she maliciously introduced gender, tribal and other unnecessary sentiments into what was simply a case of being told to pay duty as what was in her possession was far above the allowable value of N50,000.00 and certainly beyond what normal discretion would allow”. “Upon routine search of this passenger’s luggage, operatives discovered a Loius Vuitton bag and shoe. Obviously knowing the luxury brand (Loius Vuitton), she was asked to produce the receipt which will be the basis for duty calculation or not. She could not produce the receipt of what she claimed she bought at the duty-free shop at the point of departure, saying the receipt was with her husband who did not travel with her”. “The officers had to take the long route of ascertaining the current worth of her items through the internet. The luxury items were found to be worth N570,467.40k.
Consequently, appropriate duty assessment of N165, 692.25k was made and given to her to pay into Federal Government coffer. Since she could not immediately pay, a detention notice was given to her showing that the items would remain with the Nigeria Customs Service until she pays and brings evidence of payment before they will be released to her”. “Instead of paying the assessed duty and pick up her items or request to see any superior officer should she have any reservation on the assessed value, she took to use of the social media drawing all sorts of conjectures, gender (even when the officer, Ms Essien who attended to her is a lady), tribe etc and even inciting the public against the Service…”. “For the avoidance of doubt, we are aware that many Nigerians complain about the allowable amount of N50,000.00, but until the law is changed, Nigeria Customs Service will continue to enforce the extant law that says personal effects shall not exceed the value of N50,000.00. Anything more than the approved value is considered Merchandise in Baggage and therefore liable for duty payment. We, therefore, call on members of the public to disregard these conjectures and give assurances of our resolve to treat all Nigerians with deserved courtesy and respect in the discharge of our statutory functions,” he added