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Over 70% imported cars to Nigeria are accidented – Clearing Agent

By Femi Akinola

In the past decade, thousands of fairly used vehicles popularly referred to as ‘Tokunbo’ in various sizes and colours have been imported into the country. These Tokunbo vehicles are clean in outlook and their engine still in good condition.

The cost price of Tokunbo car is relatively cheap compared with brand new vehicle known locally as ‘tear-rubber.’ Though the latter are also produced overseas, they are sometimes coupled in Nigeria.

For years now, majority of Nigerians who are interested in buying affordable and presentable vehicles for private use, commercial purposes such as transportation businesses and others usually purchased Tokunbo vehicles.

However, in the recent past, different types of accidented vehicles are being brough into Nigeria through the ports or land borders.

It was found out that this become the vogue in the sector owing to the exchange rate of Nigeria’s Naira to foreign currencies such as the US Dollar, Europeans Euro and British Pound Sterling.

Investigations revealed that recently, only few Nigerians such as top ranking civil servants, established contractors and political gladiators are able to afford brand new vehicles in Nigeria.

Licensed Customs agents contacted over the issue confirmed that there is surge in importation of accidented cars into the country. From their responses, one will not hesitate to agree that over 70% Tokunbo vehicles being imported into the country are accidented.

According to an agent in Lagos who introduced himself as Mr. Sam, high exchange rate of naira to foreign currencies has forced importers of Tokunbo vehicles to import accidented cars as well as right-hand driven cars from England into the country and get them fixed.

He said importers of right hand driven cars brought to Nigeria converts those vehicles without hindrance from any quarters.

Sam explained that the cost of the cheapest SUV vehicle now is between $18,000 and $20,000. He added that all four cylinder Tokunbo cars now sold for above N5 million, depending on the brand.

In view of this, he said people who are anxious to buy cars particularly the yahoo-yahoo boys, are not bothered about whether a Tokunbo car put out for sale by an importer is a refurbished damaged car or not. ”What they are after is to buy acar that appeal to them,” he said.

On the statistics of damaged vehicles being brought into the country, Sam said, ”Go to Apapa or TinCan Island port and check out what I’ve just told you. Out of every 100 imported vehicles brought into the country, the one that are damaged to the extent that they couldn’t move except they are tow out of the arena are about 40%. Government need to rise up and check this new dimension to stop importation of junks into the country as Tokunbo cars.”

The Vice-President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Ugochukwu Nnaji, on his part noted that Nigerian importers now opt for buying auctioned accidented vehicles because they are cheaper.

According to him, the volume of imported accidented vehicles into the country has risen because ”It is cheaper to bring damaged vehicles in and those are the one people now bring in. It is all about purchasing power because the dollar is fluctuating and purchasing power is declining.”



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