Influx Of Imported Accident Vehicles Raise Road Safety Concerns | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Influx Of Imported Accident Vehicles Raise Road Safety Concerns

imported accident vehicles
Posted: Sep 2, 2016 at 5:23 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Andrew Utulu



The rising influx of accident cars being imported into the country is raising safety concerns among road users even as the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) said it was handicapped over the development as there was no extant law prohibiting the importation of such cars into the country.

However, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has said that the continuous importation of rickety and accident vehicles into the country was adding to the challenges of the corps as it has enormous challenges of grappling with millions of such vehicles currently on the roads.

Apart from the perceived accidents, which such vehicles are capable of causing, they kept breaking down and contributing to traffic gridlocks on the major roads.

So many lives have been lost as a result of crashes caused by vehicles that were not road worthy, said an observer who advocates stringent standards for entry of vehicles into the country.

Five Star Logistics, a roll-on-roll-off vehicle terminal at the Tin Can Island Port, first raised the alarm recently over the importation of vehicles that had been involved in accidents overseas to its terminal. But the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) reacted by saying that accident vehicles by law are not prohibited from being imported into the country.

Schneider Wolfgang, General Manager, Five Star Logistics Terminal, raised the alarm when he hosted some licensed customs brokers in his office.

He said that the terminal was disturbed by the volume of such vehicles, popularly called ‘accidented cars’ that are imported through the terminal.

Schneider lamented that ‘accidented’ cars have caused management of the terminal huge losses, explaining that this had led to increase in terminal charges, as the terminal needs to possess special equipment to handle such cars.

“There is an increase in ‘accidented’ cars which makes it very difficult for us to see what is in the cars, and how they are coming in. It gives us more headache and more expenses to handle such cars. We need more equipment and this equipment will not come from heavens, we have to purchase and they cost money. So sometimes our charges look high but we have to cover for these expenses.”

Steve Okonmah, a Chief Superintendent of Customs and Public Relations Officer, Ports and Terminal Multiservices Limited Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, while reacting to shipment of accident vehicles to Nigeria, said they are allowed to come.

He went further to explain that such vehicles are given rebate, provided there is evidence that the vehicles were actually accident vehicles.

He said that part of the evidence includes that the importer has a salvage certificate; the airbag must be affected, adding that it was something that sparingly came to his command.

“But when they come, we attend to them”, Okonmah said.

Also speaking, Uche Ejesieme, Customs Public Relations Officer, Tin Can Island Port command of NCS, said, “first and foremost, in Customs parlance, before any vehicle can be declared or classified as ‘accidented’, there are two critical factors that must be put into consideration. One of them is that the vehicle must be clearly seen to have been affected, secondly, the air bag must be seen to be devastatingly affected by the accident, once there is a declaration like that, we go for physical examination, that will actually help us to ascertain whether such vehicles can be classified as accidented or classified as normal vehicle. Don’t also forget that people sometime misconstrue dented vehicles as accidented, there is great difference between dented and accidented vehicles, so it is only physical examination that can reveal the real status of such vehicles, once that is done, appropriate duty is applied”.

He explained that such vehicles attract half of what was applied to normal vehicles.

On why such vehicles are allowed into the country, Ejesieme said, “in our status book, no law says categorically that accidented vehicles should not come, don’t forget that the Nigerian businessman is trying to maximise profit by saving cost and by bringing such vehicles, I am sure that the economic gains that they are trying to make is attracting them to go for such vehicles”.

“So, like l said, no law stops customs from not allowing accidented vehicles to come in. I am yet to see it in any of the status books. Don’t forget that we don’t make policies we are only implementers of government policies particularly as it affects trade facilitation, so no law stops such vehicles from coming in,” Ejesieme enthused.

Omeje Hyginus, Lagos State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, while reacting to the influx of accident vehicles coming from abroad to Nigeria said it would add to the challenges of FRSC.

“I am not aware of what you are saying, but it may be possible. If you recall what I told you about trucks, that majority of the trucks you see coming into Nigeria are those trucks that are no longer used in the country of origin. They are trucks that have failed the standard tests in those countries where they are coming from. So I am not also ruling that out. The issue of anything coming into this country has been a problem, but we are partnering a lot with the Nigerian Customs Service, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria to ensure that we get it right.”