THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – A ₦298 million bulletproof Range Rover sports utility vehicle (SUV) is rotting away at the yard of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos.
The SUV reportedly belongs to Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki, report says.
Report claims that sources and officials of the Customs Service in Lagos say the vehicle which was seized this year in January is currently at the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A of the Customs in Ikeja.
The black SUV is currently on a crane at the entrance of the Customs yard.
In March, the Senate claimed it bought the vehicle at ₦62.5 million.
The vehicle with chassis number SALGV3TF3EA190243 is being held for evasion of Customs duties and fake documents.
Since it was impounded in January, the vehicle has not been released. One Customs official in Lagos says it has become ‘government property’.
A source had sighted the vehicle last Thursday while visiting the Customs yard for personal business.
When asked by journalists about the vehicle, the spokesperson of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said, ‘I have no comment on that because I don’t even know what you are talking about.’
After being reminded that he once addressed the press on the vehicle, he said, ‘The issue is so clear. If somebody is on a contract with you, he has not delivered and something happens along the way, why is that your business? That was what we addressed you on at that time.’
When questioned further, Sabi said, ‘I’m not the contractor, he has not delivered. Whatever happens is between the contractor and Customs.’
When asked whether the contractor has returned the money paid by the Senate, Sabi said, ‘I don’t know anything about that. Go and do your investigation. I have come to the conclusion that you people in your paper don’t want peace, otherwise, how has this become an issue?’
There was no news of the seizure of the vehicle until the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, clashed with the Senate over wearing uniform in March, just two months after it was impounded.
The SUV was discovered and impounded by Customs officials in January, while it was being moved to Abuja from Lagos.
The driver of the vehicle was said to have presented documents, including a letter from the National Assembly, showing that it belongs to the Senate President.
At a public hearing in March, the importer, Tokunbo Akindele, told the Senate committee that it was discovered this year in January that the car had fake documents.
A source gathered that the case file for the vehicle has long been transfered to the Customs headquarters in Abuja for further investigation.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the FOU, Jerry Attah, did not respond to messages sent to him on the issue and has not answered or returned calls made to him.