The Muhhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has ordered a soft ban on the importation of small generators popularly called ‘I pass my neighbor.’ These are the small, blue (sometimes, yellow or red) generators which are mostly used by low-income Nigerians. These generators are also of immense benefit to small and medium scale businesses, thanks to the epileptic power situation in the country. The ban follows the ban on second-hand clothes which came into effect earlier on.
Addressing the issue, Mr. Madugu Sanni Jubrin, who is the Controller, Federation Operations Unit Zone A Lagos, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), while speaking with journalists, highlighted that the decision to ban the small Tiger generators is not unconnected with the global clamor for reduction for carbon emission into the atmosphere and also the unbearable noise it produces. In his words:
“The smaller generators have been banned by the Federal Government because it is causing air pollution and destruction of our lungs and breathing system. That is why they have banned it but people are still interested in smuggling them in, that is why we intercepted them.
“If you go to the market, you’ll still see them but only those that had been imported before the ban. So it is the leftover they had before the ban that they are selling because the law did not backdate the ban and it is not an absolute prohibition. It is prohibition by trade which means you cannot bring it in large quantity and sell to the public. That is the type of prohibition we have on this but if you buy one piece, Customs will not seize it.
“We will not relent in our efforts. When we see any prohibited item, we will seize, arrest the people and we will allow the law court to take decision on prosecuting them. So it is better for them to stop smuggling than to continue when they know Customs will catch up with them,” he said.
Also according to him, his command has seized 4,733 goods worth N52 million which included 239 bales of used clothing valued at N10 million, 1,120 cartons units of the small generators valued at N13.4 million, among others, and also arrested some suspected smugglers since he assumed duties one week ago. Madugu reiterated his commitment in ensuring that prohibited items are impounded and those involved prosecuted according to the law.
The ban of the “I pass my neighbor” generators couldn’t come at a tougher time. With the downturn in electricity supply across the nation, when compared with what it was as at the month of April, Nigerians had resorted to the use of generators and also with the high cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), the smaller generators seemed to be the best deal. But trust me, come what may, Nigerians always have an answer to whatever that is thrown at them.