The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has explained why its operatives raided Fraser Suites located in Abuja.
This was announced via a press release signed by Joseph Attah, the Customs public relations officer.
Mr Attah said that they had received information from a reliable source that owners of some “exotic cars (including bullet proof) without duty payment quickly removed their vehicles from a car mart and took them to Fraser hotel Abuja.”
He said that the operatives visited the facility “and engaged the manager professionally”.
“On arrival at the hotel, our operatives interacted with the manager and eventually left with four vehicles leaving six behind, while expecting the manager to provide the keys to the cars left behind.
“However, the manager this morning gave a written undertaking to produce a Customs vehicle duty payment documents to support his claim that the vehicles were not smuggled.
“We assured him of prompt release of the vehicles as soon as evidence of appropriate duty payments are presented.”
Some media outlets had reported that the operatives went “from room to rooms waking up guests to come out for vehicle verification.”
The NCS denied doing such and further advised Nigerians to beware of social media posts.
“NCS did not do such thing and has no intention to start raiding hotels.”
Fraser Suites, located in the heart of Abuja, was invaded early Thursday.
The news spread on Twitter with many Nigerians condemning the move, and expressing concerns on the likely implication on foreigners visiting the country for business.
Punch reported how Imo Ugochinyere, the national spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties, said “the Customs men invaded Fraser suites and sealed it, preventing diplomats and guests from going in or out”.
He said the officers were “harassing guests and ordering hotel workers to wake guests up from sleep to identify their cars.”
Fraser Suites, when contacted claimed “that no such thing happened”.
A customer care operative, whom the reporter was directed to for official comments, replied with a smile, “as you can see the environment is serene, no such thing happened.”