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Customs challenge ruling stopping duty on passengers baggage

Customs challenge ruling stopping duty on passengers baggage

Hameed Ibrahim Ali, CG, NCS

The Nigeria Customs Service, on Wednesday, appealed against a ruling that it lacked the powers to collect import duty on items contained in passengers’ baggage.

An Abuja Federal High Court, presided by John Tsoho, had on May 13, while ruling on a suit numbered HC/ABJ/CS/1113/2019, declared that it was unlawful for the NCS to collect import duty on items meant for personal use.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, had instituted the suit after Customs officers demanded and collected import duty and other related charges from him in respect of items in his personal baggage at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja on June 24, 2019.

In the suit, the plaintiff averred that pursuant to the provisions of section 8 of the Customs, Excise Tariff, (Consolidation) Act and the 2nd Schedule to the Customs, Excise Tariff, (Consolidation) Act, it was unlawful for the Customs to have collected import duty on his personal items.

The Abuja FHC ruled that the NCS was not expected to charge import duty on goods contained in a passenger’s baggage, provided that the said goods were not intended for sale, barter or exchange, and that they were personal and household effects.

In a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer at the NCS, Joseph Attah, on Wednesday, the Customs said it had filed an application asking that the judgment be set aside.

“In response to the judgment of import duty on goods/personal effects contained in a passenger’s baggage, Nigeria Customs Service today filed for setting aside of the judgment delivered on 13th May, 2020 by the Federal High Court,” the statement said.

It said the NCS was asking that the judgment be set aside on the grounds that the there was no fair hearing in the matter.

The Customs urged the general public to await the outcome of the case and assured the people of its readiness to comply with the outcome of the judicial process.

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