What is C-number Verification of Customs Paper and Why is it Necessary?

Customs reference number popularly known as “C-number” is a very important numbering system of every Nigeria Customs import document. This number is usually unique and very key to checking the authenticity of any consignment declared to Customs with the Single Goods Declaration Form (SGDF) and the duty paid to government.

A handful of Nigerians have fallen victim of fake Customs paper. This case is usually experienced in the areas of vehicles with no Customs duty put up for sale either by car vendors or individuals. These people have perfected in their acts over the years that they can come up with fake Customs paper looking almost as original and authentic as the real Customs document issued by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). However, one way to always stay ahead of their fraudulent act is to always demand they allow you carry out Nigeria Customs Service C-number verification before making payment. Once you do this, the genuine sellers will not have problem with that, but if the seller puts up attitude or relents in allowing you do so then you know the person is scam.

Another good reason for C-number verification of Customs papers is that it ensures you don’t fall a victim of stolen used cars (Tokunbo and Nigerian used).

So What is C-number?

C-number also known as Customs reference/registration number is utilized in registering a consignment’s details and duty payment into the database of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

C-number is usually found on the Single Goods Declaration form (SGD), which have the following vital information:

>> Consignor/Exporter
>> Consignee/Importer
>> Declarant/Agent
>> Customs clearance office/Office of entry/exit (customs command where the vehicle was cleared)
>> Name/address of person(s) responsible for finances (vehicle’s owner)
>> Vehicle’s location and discharge location etc.

Aside knowing the above details, it’s always advisable to contact an authorised auto dealer within or close to your location to avoid falling victim of Customs duty paper scam.

How to properly carry out Nigeria Customs Service Duty Verification using C-number

The NCS has a public helpdesk numbers, you can call to verify your custom duty without going to their office. You can refer to the helpdesk contact we provided below for verification. When you make the call, you hold on for a response and then provide them with these information:

>> Custom Reference number or C-number
>> Year of payment
>> Custom post where you made the payment

While providing the information, the custom officer will be putting it into the database to check and verify the information and the authenticity of the custom duty papers which usually does not take more than 5 minutes.

Illustration of Nigeria Customs Service Single Goods Declaration (SGD) form showing C-number and other vital information

The C-number in this case is C39527 can be seen directly under the office code located at the top right corner of the document. There is also the date 18/08/2021 beside the number. This sole purpose of the date is a reflection of the payment date for the duty, done at the bank and when recorded into the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) database. When the payment is reflected on the database, it shows the document with you is genuine and vice versa.

What Happens When I buy a Vehicle with Fake Customs document?

The penalty of buying or using a vehicle or consignment with fake Customs document is either seizure or confiscation especially when you are stopped at checkpoint while embarking on a long trip. If you want to buy car from a car dealer, always endeavour to do C-number Verification of the Customs Paper to know if they are genuine because there are a lot of fraudulent auto dealers out there who will end up giving you fake papers they made after smuggling in the vehicle into the country.



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