Customs /NUPENG Faceoff: Fuel Scarcity Looms in Badagry, Agbara, Sango Ota, Environs

The dispute between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria (NUPENG) over the supply of petroleum products 20 kilometres away from land border has led to scarcity of the product  in Badagry, Lagos state and Atan, Sango, and Agbara communities in Ogun state.

Our correspondent gathered that the dispute has spread to Sango-Ota that is over 45 kilometers away from Seme border in Ogun state.

Our correspondent gathered also that filling stations at Agbara, Idi-Iroko, Sango-Ota and those at coastal city were locked while few were jam-packed with cars, leading to long queue along the express road.

Our correspondent gathered that most filling stations at the Atan Agbara area as were closed late last week. In Agbara, there were long queues at the two filling stations which were selling the product out of six outlets in the town.

The Chairman, South-West Chapter of NUPENG, Mr. Tayo Aboyeji said that the suspension was due to harassment and molestation of its members by men of the Nigeria Customs Service and soldiers in the area.

He said that the customs, under the Joint Border Patrol operations, arrested a tanker driver which missed its way in Badagry and drove it to NCS Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ in Ikeja.

Aboyeji alleged that the Customs sold the products while investigation was still ongoing, adding that the tanker was still with the customs.

Efforts to get the spokesperson of the Customs, FOU Zone ‘A’, was abortive as call put across to him was not responded to as at the time of filing this report.

However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has urged consumers not to worry and engage in panic over the fake news on fuel scarcity.

In response to consumer’s news on fuel scarcity in Lagos and Ogun states, the NNPC, spokesperson, Mr. Samson Makoji calls on Nigerians to debunk and regard it as fake news.

He assured Nigerians that there is nothing to warrant scarcity of fuel in any part of the country.  He added that, “all stations are wet with products; there is enough sufficiency, enough fuel everywhere.

An official of the Public Complaint Commission (PCC), Mr Idowu Jimoh urged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to extend its visit to Badagry so as to check selling of petrol into jerry cans which was rampant in the area.

“We don’t know if Badagry is not part of Nigeria. Filling stations sell above the pump price, they prefer to sell into sacks and jerry cans, illegal bunkering is now the order of the day.

“We heard DPR is going to filling stations in other states, sealing erring filling stations but we have not felt their presence here in Badagry.

“There is no filling station that is exempted from illegal bunkering in Badagry and the so-called security agents are making money each day by allowing these stations to go free.

“It is only those that refused to cooperate with them that got sealed up for few days,” the PCC official said.

The President, Hengo Badagry Youth Association, Mr Felix Godonu urged NUPENG and Customs to find way of resolving the issues and should not make Badagry residents the weeping child.

“It is unfortunate that Badagry has become the weeping child in spite of the huge revenue and resources the government generated in the past and present.

“Badagry in last three years has joined oil producing communities, why should we now be made to suffer through the government policies. This is unfair and unacceptable.

“The border has been closed since Aug. 21, 2019, depriving legitimate businesses and businessmen and women to wallow in hardship, this was followed by restrictions of petroleum and other products fuel stations within 20 kilometers.

“We urge the Federal Government to help to organise a roundtable meeting between Customs and NUPENG so that normalcy will return to filling stations in Badagry communities,” he said.