The lawmaker representing Kano-North senatorial district, Jibrin Barau, on Tuesday, told the Senate that the 13 vehicles seized by the Nigeria Customs Service in Kano State did not belong to him.
Barau was reacting to a report by a national daily newspaper (not The PUNCH) in which he was linked to the seized vehicles.
The Comptroller General of Customs Compliance Task Force had said it had impounded 223 vehicles, 13 of which belonged to a senator in Kano State.
The Zonal Commander, NCS, Bala Dole, said the vehicles belonging to the said senator were 12 new Toyota Hilux and one Toyota Land Cruiser.
Dole, who declined to name the senator, said the 13 vehicles were trailed from Maigatari in Jigawa State, following an intelligence report.
Barau, at the plenary on Tuesday, raised a point or order to deny alleged ownership of the vehicles.
The lawmaker said he received a text message over a report from the medium at about 11pm on Monday, urging him to call back ‘as there was an urgent matter’.
Barau said he called the reporter back thrice but his calls were not picked. He said he also called another reporter with the same medium, who also did not pick his calls.
He said, “When I woke up this morning, I saw a headline that 13 (Toyota) Hilux vehicles smuggled into the country because customs’ duties were not paid on them were found in my residence. This never happened. And that my house was sealed. And that the vehicles were there without anybody claiming ownership of them.
“This is a clear case of calumny to smear my good name. I was in my house throughout the weekend with my constituents; they were all in my house; my house was wide opened and no Hilux vehicle was in my house.
“This is terrible. It is a bad day for our democracy. It is something that I really cannot imagine to be happening at this time of our political development.”