By Godfrey Bivbere
lagos—Men of the Federal Operations Unit, FOU Zone A, the anti-smuggling arm of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, have laid siege on the popular Berger-yard auto mart for three days since last Thursday, in search of vehicles suspected to have been shipped into the country without payment or under payment of duty.
The officers, who were accompanied by Army officers of the OP MESA outfit, went to one of the 26 parks to take away three vehicles said to have been cleared without duty payment.
However, the dealer, Kenneth Ezerube and his assistants refused to allow the cars to be taken away until the President of United Berger Motor Dealers Association, UBMDA, Chief Metche Nnadiekwe stepped in asking that the cars be taken to his office.
However, there was disagreement over the Customs officers visit. While Nnadiekwe claimed it was a routine Ezerube, said that the officers were invited by the President to intimidate him over his refusal to make a N35 million contribution.
Responding to the allegation, Nnadiekwe said the Association was actually collecting money to take care of its legal cases and other pressing issues and that Mr. Ezerube had not been contributing to the upkeep of the Association over the years. He was however silent on the N35 million contribution.
The Public Relations Officers of FOU Zone “A”, Jerry Attah, when contacted said the officers were actually there on official duty because there have been petitions of duty evasion or half payments.