Nigeria has banned imports of used cars which are more than five years old, according to the website africast.com.

The ban, from 1 January 2002, was announced in Abuja Wednesday by Women and Social Development Minister Aisha Ismail, after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, the website said, adding that the government recently stopped imports of used refrigerators and air conditioners.

Ismail said though the government was aware of the implication of the ban on the populace, many of whom could not afford new cars due to the downturn in the economy, it was determined to discourage dumping of scraps in the country, africast.com reported.

"Most of the cars being imported into the country are supposed to be fairly used cars, but because of the way Nigeria has been so abused by people in and outside, they bring [in] totally dead cars," the website quoted Ismail as saying.

Africast.com said that it remains to be seen how the government plans to enforce the ban, considering that a large number of the imported cars, locally called &'Tokunbo', are brought into the country through illegal entry points.

But analysts told africast.com that the ban could lead to an increase in the prices of used cars already imported into the country, thereby creating more hardship for the people in a country with an inefficient public transport system.

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