Joseph Attah, public relations officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, says that 43 people have won the bidding of vehicles in the first 48 hours of the newly launched e-auction platform.
Attah told NAN that the platform, which was launched on Monday by Hameed Ali, Customs comptroller-general, is active and working despite claims from interested bidders that they could not access the Customs’s auction websites.
Contrary to claims by Attah that the platform is active and working, TheCable discovered that the website could not be accessed at various intervals on Wednesday as the page displayed an error message.
“Dear user, the requested page was not found (error 404).”
NAN corroborates this claim as it reports that the website could not be accessed between 4:10pm and 4:45pm on Wednesday.
“NAN reports that between 4:10 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 5, the platform was showing ‘Under Maintenance’,” the news agency wrote.
“The platform also gave an instruction saying: ‘Dear user, the server is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance or upgrade. Please refresh the page in a few minutes.”
At times when the website was functional, attempts made by TheCable to register and bid on the platform (https://app.trade.gov.ng/eauction/auction/list/all) failed as the website rejected genuine tax identification numbers.
According to the terms and conditions on the website, interested bidders would have to pay an administrative charge of N1000 to any branch of Jaiz bank.
Attah said other banks had not joined the exercise because of technical issues.
“At the first day of the launching, there were technical challenges with the e-auction platform and these challenges have already been resolved. Potential bidders can now register smoothly without hitches.
“The first 48 hours expired at 12noon on Wednesday and already 43 persons have won the bidding including a journalist, so you can see this platform is working.
“For now, it is only Jaiz bank that is on the platform, other designated banks are having Interswitch issues and they will soon be on board as soon as they ratify the issues. I understand that today one bank will soon be on board.”
Attah encouraged interested bidders to remain calm until other branches come on board or visit any branch Jaiz bank to pay the administrative fee.
“For those trying to register, they should go to the designated bank area on the platform, click on the Jaiz bank and print out the page from their system and go to the bank to pay.
“This means the person has activated with Jaiz bank and the bank can key you into the bank system to enable you pay the N1 000 administrative fee, which will be transferred to your e-wallet.”
With the aid of a branch locator, Reporters found that the bank has only 30 branches across the country; six in Abuja, five in Kano, three in Lagos and Kaduna, two in Bauchi and one each in Sokoto, Oyo, Kogi, Adamawa, Rivers, Borno, Katsina, Kwara, Zamfara, Gombe and Kebbi.