Customs Import Duty On Personal Items Illegal – Court Ruling


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In a suit instituted by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, against the Nigeria Customs Service, NSC, the presiding judge has declared that collecting import duties on personal items is illegal.


According to TheCable report, the SAN had instituted the suit before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja after officers of the NSC demanded and collected import duty and other related charges from him in respect of his personal effect (a Louis Vuitton laptop bag) found in his baggage at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja on June 24, 2019.


Ogunwumiju argued before Justice John Tsoho that the defendants lacked evidence to prove that the item was for sale, and pursuant to 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 the NCS to have collected N156, 955. 20k as import duty on the item which was meant for personal use.


The judge therefore held that “the defendants having failed to establish via evidence that the said bag found in the Plaintiff’s baggage was meant for sale, exchange or barter, there was no legal basis upon which the officers of the Nigerian Customs Service demanded and collected import duty and other related charges from the plaintiff in respect of the said bag.”


He ordered the NCS to refund the N156, 955. 20k collected as import duty to the plaintiff and pay him additional N5 million as damages.


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