What documents to collect when buying Tokunbo car in Nigeria?


Posted by: Oluwaseun Adeniji

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You really need to 'shine your eye' when buying a Tokunbo vehicle here in Nigeria. See the documents you should get from the seller to avoid any trouble later!

Many at times, we are confronted with series of inner queries on which documents are necessary to be in our custody if we are buying tokunbo cars in Nigeria. These questions are evergreen and a lot of people have fallen victims to making mistakes while buying their vehicles. Most times, potential buyers approach unknown individuals online to buy directly from them, which might turn out to be a very big trap for them.

It is not smart enough to create a connection with random online people in a bid to make a purchase. This is because you might not get your hands on valid or original documents. If you buy a car from an untraceable fellow, you may end up buying a stolen car or being given invalid vehicle documents. Here on Naijauto are the most vital documents to collect when buying Tokunbo cars in Nigeria.

Important documents when buying Tokunbo cars in Nigeria

No matter the model or the years such vehicle has been used on the road, you need to ‘shine your eyes’ well and obtain these important documents or papers. After getting your hands on these papers, the next step is to verify them in knowing whether they are actually original or fake. You should refrain from collecting photocopies since you are paying for this car. It is your property after you make the purchase. So, you need to get all the original copies of the documents. Failing to do so might put you into a very messy situation with law enforcement agents.


Before buying a tokunbo car in Nigeria, please verify the authenticity of every document

1. Current insurance paper

There is a possibility that you are not getting a direct tokunbo vehicle. In such case, the owner would have thought it worthwhile to put the cost of insurance into what he is selling the car for. This means damages would be paid by the insurance if anything happens to the car while you are driving. It is quite important you get your hands on the current insurance paper when you are purchasing your tokunbo vehicle since the paper would give you right to make a claim when needed.

>>> Refer to this article for more explanation: 6 compelling reasons why you should buy car insurance right now

2. Duly stamped customs document

One thing you need to know is that you have to stamp anything custom-related. Not just that, you should ensure that details on the document should match with what you have on the car. Getting original papers with corresponding VIN is very vital to a hitch free ride without constant disturbance by the law enforcement agents.


Make sure you collect a signed and stamped valid custom paper from the seller to avoid any legal trouble

3. Police report papers

Other papers you obviously don’t want to toy with are the Police Report Papers. These comprise of engine number, plate number document, tinted glass permit if it is tinted and a change of ownership.

>>> If you haven't had these papers ready, check this!

4. Proof of ownership

This is evidence showing you are the true owner of the car you are laying claim to. It is very important like the rest of other documents. Failure to produce this document might make you forfeit ownership of the vehicle or even get it impounded.

>>> Instructions to change car ownership in Nigeria can be found here: How to change car ownership in Nigeria (Sample of Form MVA 5 included)


You might be detained by police if lacking proper car documents

5. Road worthiness

You should get this paper if you are getting a tokunbo car, especially from the seller. You should renew in case the document timeframe has expired. You can get this done at the vehicle test station within the country, bearing in mind that your license and insurance policy would be needed to get this.

6. Original car purchase receipt

This document is legal evidence that you are rightly buying the vehicle and not stealing it. You should be vigilant if the seller is trying to avoid giving it to you at the point of purchase. When you are issued a receipt as well, you should be careful since the buyer might want to trick you with tampered document.

>>> Naijauto got your back: How to write a car bill of sale in simple steps

7. Plate number allocation

In any case your seller is unable to give you this document; you can approach a court for swearing of affidavit.


Knowing fully well that plate number allocation paper is vital, as well as getting an affidavit from court in its absence

Final note

Be vigilant around vehicles with no custom document. It is much safer to stay away from it. If the seller acquired this vehicle as a Nigerian used, a signed change of ownership document should be given to you by him or her. You might not really need this if the seller bought the vehicle as direct tokunbo. Acquiring these documents will save you from stress or unnecessary embarrassment with the concerned agency while driving.

Be careful!

>>> Read more tips and advice on Naijauto.com, especially Car buying & selling tips!

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Oluwaseun Adeniji

Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Oluwaseun Adeniji is a passionate writer and a poet with special interest in writing about cars. He is a master degree holder in international conflict and management. He enjoys feeding the public with the latest auto gist and well researched car reviews. He is also a strong football lover. So, if Oluwaseun is not writing, expect him to be reading about sports.


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