How to buy auction cars in Nigeria from Nigeria Customs Service


Posted by: Joshua-Philip Okeafor

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How to buy auction cars in Nigeria, especially those from Nigeria Customs Service is not an easy task. Naijauto offers you sure guidance to navigate these waters safely and smoothly. Read on!

As the need for mobility grows in urban centers across Nigeria, the demand for vehicles of all types continues to grow.

This demand is partly a consequence of business in Africa’s biggest economy, as well as an indication of a population on the rise, projected to hit 200 million by 2020, which was sucessfully achieved.

Many avenues exist to buy a car in Nigeria, and sale-by-auctions is now one of them. Buying auction cars in Nigeria has never been easier - or more risky. Naijauto brings you the latest scoop on this remarkable way to buy cars in Nigeria.


Auction cars are vehicles sold at auctions

1. How to get auction cars in Nigeria

With the growing popularity of car auction in Nigeria, cheap used cars for sale in Nigeria may also be bought via auctions. Getting auction cars in the country is as simple as logging onto a car auction website like the Nigeria customs auction website and placing a bid. 

Apart from the Nigerian Immigration Service run site, other online car sites exist in the country. Examples include, auctionexport, and

By far however, the most reliable has proven to be the Nigeria Customs Service’s auction operations. Scroll down and you will find how to buy cars from Nigeria Customs Service auctions.


Normally Nigeria Customs Service auction cars have better quality

3. Risks in buying auction cars in Nigeria

Before buying cars for auction in Nigeria, make sure you understand its pros and cons. Business is inherently risky, and the serious commerce of buying and selling cars via the auction system is itself not exempt. Some risks you can encounter in trying to buy fairly used cars for sale in Nigeria through auctions are:

  • Fake auction sites: Many have fallen victim to fake auction sites. Giving your money to a site without some background check is foolhardy. Always do your due diligence.
  • Fake Customs agents: It becomes constant news to read about the apprehension of persons impersonating Customs officers to auction off everything from cars to bags of rice. The NCS does not deal with citizens on a personal basis and all auction activities are routed through the provided web portal.
  • Wrong reporting of a vehicle’s true condition on auction sites: Accidented and salvaged cars form a large part of auctioned vehicles, especially those from overseas. Misrepresentation of a car’s true state can lead to a high bid and loss.
  • Payment difficulties: Especially as concerns online auctioning, payment barriers still hinder many Nigerians from effectively engaging in e-commerce. This is seeing some improvement, however.
  • Lack of strong government regulations for auction sales: Due to sale-by-auction being still a developing enterprise solution in Nigeria, there is still no strong legislation to regulate this method of commerce. The Nigerian Association of Auctioneers is currently the only semi-official body that oversees auctioning in Nigeria.  
  • No national credit system leading to poor auto-financing: A poor credit structure generally limits access to financing for payments such as auto-purchase.


Caution is the key in buying cars from an auction

4. How to buy Custom auction cars in Nigeria

As mentioned earlier, the Nigerian customs e-auction operation is probably the most reliable in the country. Many who have gone this route in Nigeria have come away with varying degrees of satisfaction. Naturally, there are not so happy tales, especially concerning the infamous number 9 of the site’s terms and conditions.

The Customs Auctions operation began as a way to decongest the Nigerian ports of impounded and not-cleared goods. These goods, including cars, machinery, food, and many other imports were periodically sold to the public on a highest-bidder basis called auctions.

These auctions were usually pre-announced in newspapers to give the general public adequate fore-knowledge of them. Nigeria Customs auctions, as a rule, were attended eagerly by a wide cross-section of Nigerians.

In fact, many potential shoppers would deliberately hoard cash intended for purchases until these auctions came along.

Video: The very first car auction offline in Lagos

Following widespread spurious claims by persons who posed as customs agents, set up illegal Customs auctions, and effectively fleeced the unsuspecting public, the NCS (Nigeria Customs Service) decided to set up the Customs e-auction operation.

The website regulates all auction activities of the Nigerian customs service. The following process and notes enable you to participate and claim a car via the Nigeria Customs’s auction system:

1. Each auction applicant needs to register on the website prior to bidding.

The applicant needs to have a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Each applicant must, in addition, attach an active e-mail address with their registration.

2. The Applicant then pays a fee of One Thousand Naira (₦1,000) as non-refundable process fees.

3. The applicant can then place a maximum of two bids for each auctioned item. The highest bidder wins.

4. Applicants must note that items auctioned are done so on an “as is” basis.

That being the case, the NCS does not accommodate requests for replacements of faulty or damaged items. Refunds are also not made by the Nigerian Customs.

5. You are expected to pay the full amount of your successful bid no later than 5 working days after the conclusion of the bid process.

Failing to claim the auctioned car by the full payment before the end of the fifth working day automatically results in a loss of the bid, the auctioned item then goes to the number 2 highest bid.

6. Having paid the full bid amount, you will be given 14 days maximum to take possession of the car. You need to know that additional charges may apply at this point.

For instance, number 8 of the auction site’s terms and conditions state that you may need to pay 25% of your winning bid sum as demurrage and another 25% for the shipping line.

You will automatically forfeit your car if you fail to remove it from the storage premises at the end of 14 days after your bid session.

7. Cars not removed by the expiration of the deadline once again become NCS property and may undergo another bid session. Funds thus lost are not refundable.

8. As stated earlier, the NCS specifically warns that “ for overtime cargo, the successful bidder shall in addition pay 25% charges for Shipping Line and Terminal operators respectively”.

9. Each applicant cannot bid on more than 2 auctioned items for any single bid session.

10. In order to claim successful, fully paid for auctioned cars, you will need to present the following:

  • A copy of the paid assessment and bank receipt (this is optional if you made an e-payment).
  • If the bidder cannot appear himself, a notarized letter is necessary before a proxy can be given the car. You need to make sure your uploaded photo matches your photo ID.
  • You will need to provide valid ID, which can be any of Driver’s license, International passport, National ID card, or PVC (Permanent Voter’s Card).

11. Each auction window lasts for two days or Forty-eight hours. All bids must be placed during this period.

12. Third-party claims shall not be entertained.

13. Officials and employees of the Nigeria Customs Service may not participate in auctions organized by NCS.

14. You may not bid for a car or other goods impounded or seized from you by the Nigerian Customs.

15. You may bid on an overtime cargo if you are the owner as long as it has not been cleared out of the premises. In that case, the owner will have priority over any other successful bid.


You can lose your bid if you don't claim it quickly

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5. Where to buy auction cars in Nigeria

You can buy auction cars in Nigeria online or offline. When patronizing auction companies, be cautious as there have been cases of under-representation or even fraud. Some of the most used and trusted online auction sites are:

  • This is not really a Nigerian car auction site, but it services the Nigerian market. Based in Canada, speaks of itself s as a reliable and trusted auction/export service of North American cars to Nigeria and the world. is BBB (Better Business Bureau) certified. BBB is a business standards advocacy organization, the members of which are pledged to be committed to the principles of trust, honesty, and accountability. Over 200,000 vehicles are available on this site.  
  • Is a general auction site. If you are lucky, you may get a good deal on a car on this site.
  • Is one of the most patronized auto-auction sites servicing Nigeria. It is required that you register as a member of the site before you can commence bidding.  Copart is about 35 years old, making it one of the oldest auto-auction companies. It has about 130,000 cars.
  • This is perhaps the only truly Nigerian auction site. They offer a unique payment plan and deliver your car to your doorstep.

Offline car auctions are not very common in Nigeria. The NAA (Nigerian Association of Auctioneers) has about 120 members.

Most car auctions in Nigeria are by banks, churches, and other organizations that need to sell off old vehicles quickly.

The Nigerian Customs Service formerly was the country’s chief car auctions organizer. This has now been replaced by an e-auction system that is deemed to be more transparent.


Most car auctions happen online

6. Auction cars by Nigeria Customs

Nigerian Customs Services has fairly regular auctions of impounded cars. Unlike many auction sites, cars sold by the NCS are in easily assessable conditions. The probability of buying a salvaged vehicle from online auction sites is fairly high. Hence, many prefer to buy from Customs auctions, because the cars auctioned are generally bought for personal use before they faced impoundment.  

Many different brands of cars are available at the NCS auctions. Cars are sold on an “as is” basis. The NCS does not offer any kind of guarantee for cars sold through its auctions.

Video: Warning about auction car scams online by Nigeria Customs officer

Nigeria Custom auction cars in Lagos

Lagos has a unique position as far as Customs auctions are concerned.

Since the country’s biggest and busiest sea-port is located in Lagos, the Customs service in Lagos is also one of the largest and busiest. Lagos also used to be the location of the NCS’s offline auctions in the past.

Now, like the rest of the country, the residents of Lagos need to register on the dedicated auction site to gain access to auctions and auction cars for sale in Lagos.   


Tincan/Apapa Ports in Lagos is the location for periodic car auctions (Photo source:

7. Conclusion

Buying auction cars in Nigeria can be a profitable exercise with the right information, guidance, and action steps. Please study all the guidelines as well as references to other people who have bought auction cars from those sources before stepping to an auction. You may get yourself a worthwhile second-hand transport or lose money for your inexperience.

>>> Check more Tips & Advice on to be more confident when buying cars out there!

>>> You know buying and selling online is the trend of the future. If you are looking to buy and sell cars in Nigeria, don't forget to visit see all cars for sale in Nigeria!

Joshua-Philip Okeafor
Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Car buying & selling

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

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