By Ajibola Abayomi
The Nigeria Customs Service has rejected the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja this week that ruled that payment of import duty on goods and personal effects contained in a passenger’s baggage was unlawful.
The National Public Relations of the NCS, Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah said the Service would appeal the Judicial Division (Coram: J.T.Tsoho, CJ) that delivered this judgment in Kehinde Ogunwumiju, SAN v. Nigerian Customs Service Board & Anor: Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1113/2019.
Attah hinted that “the NCS was set to appeal the judgement as the Service believes, it is not intune with extant law governing passenger concession.
“It’s a different case if there is the argument that the N50,000 limit is too low, hence should be reviewed upward. Untill that is done the Service has a duty to enforce extant law/ guideline.”
He added that the Service legal team was already at the process of filling appeal against the judgement.
The Plaintiff, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN) via his counsel Tunde Ahmed Adejumo, Esq had approached the Court via an originating summons primarily seeking a declaration that in view of the provisions of Section 8 of the Customs, Excise Tariff, etc. (Consolidation) Act and the 2nd Schedule to the Customs, Excise Tariff, etc. (Consolidation) Act, it was unlawful for officers of the NCS to have demanded and collected import duty and other related charges from the Plaintiff in respect of his personal effect
(A Louis Vuitton Lap Top Bag) was found in his baggage following a search by the Customs officers upon his arrival at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja on the 24th June, 2019.
The Court thereafter ordered the Defendant (Customs) to refund the sum of N156, 955. 20k (One Hundred and Fifty-Six Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty-Five Naira, Twenty Kobo) in import duty and other related charges to the Plaintiff and also to pay to the Plaintiff N5 million as damages.
According to the judgment, it was unlawful for officers of the NCS to demand and collect import duty and other related charges from anyone in respect of goods/personal effects found in their baggage provided that the said goods/personal effects wete not meant for sale, barter or exchange.