Even as the fuel scarcity is biting harder, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Seme Border Command said it intercepted 2,200 jerry cans of smuggled of petrol with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) worth over N10 million between Dec. 1, 2017 and date.
The Area Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Aliyu, disclosed this in a press release by the command’s Chief Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr Taupyen Selchang.
The controller in a statement by the PRO said that most of the seizures were made at Pashi-Yekeme Community in Owode and the creeks. The total volume of PMS intercepted was 55,000 litres (2,200 x 25 litres).
Shipping Position Daily reports that smuggling of petroleum products across the Seme border is not new, even as stakeholders have pointed out that the act has further exacerbated the fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
The controller explained that smuggling of petrol in jerry cans had been a recurring decimal which operatives of the NCS had always tried to suppress.
Aliyu said that the command was determined to combat the smuggling of petroleum products usually done by the smugglers using jerry cans and passing through the creeks and illegal routes.
He said that they were not banning the use of trucks to transport the products to the communities along the border where they were legitimately meant to serve as was being wrongly and widely speculated by some people.
“This has been our modest contribution toward ameliorating the sufferings of Nigerians caused by the current shortage of the product,’’ he said.
Aliyu said that the command would continue to enforce its statutory mandate of revenue generation, suppression of smuggling and facilitation of legitimate trade.
He said the command would also continue to protect the international land border against illicit smuggling and trafficking of small and light weapons across the border along the West African sub-region.
Aliyu said that the NCS operational norms did not allow trucks of petroleum products to cross the Nigerian territory either through the Seme main border or its Owode-Apa Outstation.
He said that the Owode-Apa Outstation was synonymous to every approved border post manned by all relevant government security agencies (NCS, Police, Immigration, Air Force, Navy, DSS, SON, NAFDAC, Quarantine, Civil Defence, among others).
“This is because all loaded trucks with petroleum products meant for Seme axis are strictly monitored and documents provided are carefully scrutinised in order to avoid diversion.
“It is also to equally ensure that the products meant for the axis are actually discharged strictly at the approved filling stations along Seme main border or Owode-Apa border communities,’’ the controller said.
Aliyu said that officers of the anti-bunkering unit were always assigned to escort all loaded incoming trucks to ensure strict compliance in discharging the products to the approved filling stations in the border communities.
“The surveillance becomes inevitable because Nigerians who reside along the borders have the right to be served with the product for their local economic activities,’’ he said.