How to know if that Tokunbo is not a stolen car in Nigeria


Posted by: Jane Osuagwu

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Nigeria is a market place for Tokunbo cars. But how do you avoid buying a stolen car in Nigeria instead of a Tokunbo? We shared 4 ways in this article. Check them out!

Getting arrested for buying a tokunbo car that was stolen isn't a nice experience. Even with the recent raids by the Nigerian Customs to regulate the importation of foreign vehicles, you don't want to end up in their net. That’s why Naijauto deemed it fit to show you how you can avoid buying a stolen Tokunbo car in Nigeria.

Granted, it’s not often that one gets caught with a stolen foreign car since the car has left its mother base, and now in a new country. But you will be dealt with as a buyer when caught with one.

Quickly, let’s see the ways.         

1. Make a request for the Custom papers

This is the first request you should make from a car dealer or an individual who's trying to sell a foreign car to you. Carefully inspect the custom papers being issued. This will save you from buying any stolen car. Ask the car dealer for the Custom paper then verify it.

How to verify a car's custom papers

  • Look for the Customs Reference Number or C- number on the Single Goods Declaration form (SGD). The C number can be found on the top right of the SGD.
  •  The year the custom paper was paid and
  • The command where the duty was paid

These three details should be forwarded to the Nigerian Customs help desk on the following numbers - 094621597, 094621598, or 094621599.

You should also check the car's VIN to know if the car was stolen.

customs paper

Ask the car dealer for the Custom paper then verify it

2. Buy from an authorized car dealer

With the influx of car dealers online and offline, getting a trusted car dealer has become almost impossible. Here on Naijauto, we always advise online buyers to first verify the authenticity of the seller and the car. They should never make any part payment when they've not seen the car in its location. If you prefer making an offline purchase, make sure the car dealer is registered.

>>> Check the list of authorized Toyota dealerships in Nigeria, collected by!

3. Look out for fresh paint on the car

One of the red flags for a stolen car is new paint used to disguise the car from being identified. Be on the lookout for fresh paints. The smell will always give it away. Check the car's edges for any clue.


One of the red flags for a stolen car is new paint used to disguise the car from being identified

4. Confirm its overall looks

This is now the time to put on your detective cap to confirm the car's overall looks because once you've sealed the deal with the car dealer, there's no going back. You can even carry a trusted mechanic along with you for the inspection. Try not to be gullible on this.

If you adhere to the 4 ways listed here, you won't come close to buying a stolen foreign car in Nigeria.

>>> Do check out our car buying and selling section for more car buying tips!

Jane Osuagwu

Jane Osuagwu

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Jane Osuagwu is an automotive writer at She's a car enthusiast who loves creating educative and informative topics on cars, ranging from maintenance tips to updates on the latest trend in the auto industry in concise and friendly writing. 

Jane is also a blogger and loves reading, inspiring people and getting involved in personal development projects.

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