ontario car nigeria

Cars stolen from Ontario are being listed on reseller websites in Nigeria

It's not an understatement to say that way more people than usual have had their cars stolen in Toronto lately.

The Toronto Police Service's own public data portal shows that auto thefts are up a staggering 61.4 per cent this year in the city to date. Just four months into the year, more than 1,000 cars have already been taken off the streets and, in some cases, rushed onto shipping containers headed across the ocean.

A website called jiji.ng — Nigeria's version of Kijiji — boasts hundreds of used cars for sale from Canada.

Some of these cars may have been legitimately exported to Africa for the purpose of someone selling them online.

Others, like this 2005 Toyota Camry, are up for sale at a price comparable to what it would cost to be ship a vehicle all the way across the Atlantic ocean.

This is not to say that any of the cars with Canadian origins on jiji.ng have been stolen. At least one recent listing was, however, according to said car's owner per CTV News.

CTV reports that Ahmad Abdallah's 2017 Toyota SUV disappeared from the street in near his Toronto home in September of 2021. More than six months later, the news outlet found his exact vehicle — identifying marks and all — up for sale in a suburb of Lagos, Nigeria.

CBC's Marketplace found similarly last month in a report of its own that "cars stolen from Ontario and Quebec are openly being advertised and sold in West African countries, including Nigeria and Ghana."

Vehicles with push-to-start ignitions are a clear target, according to police, and organized crime groups are able to get stolen vehicles onto shipping containers and en route to Africa within hours.

So, if you happen to be one of the more than 1,000 car theft victims this year to date, I'd suggest keeping an eye on overseas resale sites. Some still sport their Ontario licence plates.

"Freshly imported from Ontario, no impact, no accident. Working perfectly well," reads one listing for a 2012 Hyundai Sonata. "Are you the one God wants to bless with this car? Chat me up right now!! I sell good cars at great prices."

"Newly arrived cla250 just like brand new," reads another. "Seven months used in Canada."

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