Reactions trail suspension of fuel supply to border towns

In a legally controversial transfer, the Federal Authorities has directed that petroleum merchandise shouldn’t be equipped to fuel stations inside 20 kilometres of the nation’s worldwide borders.

The fuel supply restriction was communicated from the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters in Abuja to all formations throughout the nation. The Comptroller Basic, Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.), issued the directive in a memo dated November 6, 2019, titled, “EII/2019/Circular No 027 Suspension of Petroleum Products Supply to Filling Stations Within 20 Kilometres of all Borders,” on Thursday.

“The Comptroller-General of Customs has directed that henceforth no petroleum product no matter the tank size is permitted to be discharged in any filling station with 20 kilometres to the border,” the memo signed by Chidi A., the Deputy Comptroller Basic for Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, learn. “Consequently, you are all to ensure strict and immediate compliance, please.”

No less than 57 borders have been shut throughout Nigeria since August as the federal government intensified steps to curtail smuggling actions from neighbouring nations like Benin, Niger, Ghana and Cameroon.

Observers be aware that the border closure is already taking a toll on the nation’s economic system with residents complaining about scarcity of important merchandise.

An NNPC report earlier in April, had raised the alarm in regards to the growing quantity of filling stations in border towns saying they’re funnels for fuel smuggling to neighbouring nations. It revealed that 16 states, having a complete of 61 LGAs with border communities, account for two,201 registered fuel stations and a mixed capability of 144,998,700 litres of petrol.

It has lengthy been reported that the majority of the petrol meant for the Nigerian market are sometimes smuggled to neighbouring African nations at greater costs.

In the meantime, the transfer has elicited help from the Basic Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Pure Fuel Employees (NUPENG), Afolabi Olawale, who mentioned the Union was in help of the directive.

He mentioned the quantity of submitting stations inside 20 kilometres radius of Nigerian borders had been greater than the quantity of filling stations contained in the city and questioned what financial motive drives the institution of such a big quantity of filling stations shut to the border.

“The one clarification can be that they’re getting used as conduit pipe by means of which smuggled petroleum merchandise are taken out of the nation,” Olawale mentioned.

Nevertheless, IPMAN Nationwide Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Maigandi, mentioned that the measure will carry extra hardship to the residents within the border towns. He added that implementing the directive will short-change the entrepreneurs which can be duly licensed by the Division of Petroleum Assets (DPR) to promote petroleum merchandise in that area.

Different stakeholders have queried the propriety of the directive on the premise that the Customs boss lacks the authority to make such pronouncements which fall underneath the purview of the DPR.

Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, reacting to the directive mentioned: “Since we’re working underneath a constitutional authorities, the Federal Authorities has no energy to impose collective punishment on law-abiding residents and company our bodies. The filling stations had been registered underneath the regulation by the Directorate of Petroleum Assets (DPR). So, the CGC Alli lacks the ability to ban them from finishing up their official enterprise.”

The DPR spokesperon didn’t reply to inquiries despatched by way of electronic mail in a bid to validate Falana’s place.

Recall, the Nigerian Nationwide Petroleum Company (NNPC), Nigeria Customs Service and the DPR agreed to inaugurate a Joint Committee to sort out the rising incidents of petroleum merchandise smuggling throughout the nation’s border towns,

It was said that smuggling of petroleum merchandise throughout the nation’s borders was inflicting severe loss to the nation’s income technology drive and had been subverting authorities’s efforts to guarantee enough supply of petroleum merchandise in all components of the nation.

Supply: Marine&Petroleum Nigeria

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