Customs tackles diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring countries

For the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), a fresh challenge of tackling smuggling and diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring countries is a battle to fight headlong.

There have been cases of smuggling of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrole, diesel and kerosene, through Idiroko, Seme and other borders linking Nigeria with some African nations.

The Ogun State Area Command recently bemoaned the unpatriotic act of smugglers, who are diverting petroleum products to neighbouring countries, even at a time when the nation is facing fuel supply challenges.

The Area Controller, Sani Madugu, at a media briefing, said the Command intercepted 276 Jerry cans (25 litres each) of petrol; nine drums and 32 kegs of diesel; and five drums of kerosene at Idiroko border in the last two weeks.

He said the Command has upped its ante on anti-smuggling operations, and would not condone illicit trade at the boarders in Idiroko and Abeokuta.

Magudu said: “In an effort to curb the menace of smuggling of petroleum products outside Nigeria by some unscrupulous, unpatriotic and desperate members of the public, who are determined to enrich themselves illegitimately to the detriment of other Nigerians. We have succeeded in intercepting 276 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), nine drums and 32 kegs of diesel and five drums of kerosene.

“We will continue to explore intelligence and surveillance in monitoring filling stations along the border areas so as to avert any form of diversion,” he said.

The Command has therefore auctioned the fuel to the Nigerian Police, the Immigration Service, Nigerian Army, journalists and some other members of the public.

Other seizures made by the Command includes 13 tokunbo vehicles; two means of conveyance; 17 motorcycles; 383 bags of foreign rice (50kg each); six sacks of second-hand clothing/shoes/bags, 221 kegs of vegetable oil with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N67.2million.

He also said the Command has reinvigorated efforts to surpass its achievement in the previous year (810 seizures with DPV of N1.581billion and total revenue of N6.162billion from January to December, 2017), adding that it has started year 2018 on a good note with the recent seizures.

Magudu also noted that the transparent electronic system of auctioning of seized items has yielded result and Ogun Area Command have so far release 291 vehicles to successful winners.

He added that he assessment and capturing of more seized and condemned vehicles are ongoing, urging interested Nigerians to log into e-auction portal (https://app.trade.gov.ng/eauction) to bid for vehicles and other items of their choice.

“In the same vein, 11, 990 bags of 50kg of rice, 1, 129 jerry cans of 25 litres each of vegetable oil and 29 jerry cans of 25 litres each of palm oil were successfully evacuated from both Abeokuta and Idiroko government warehouses by the Nigeria Army Transport and Logistics for onward delivery to Internally Displaced Persons in Yobe state.

The Command however rewarded some of the officers for their commitment to duty, to serve as motivation and encourage outstanding Officers.

Magudu presented a letter of commendation by the Comptroller General of Customs, to Chief Superintendent of Customs Jamairi Ali Mamza, and Superintendant of Customs Yau Habib, whose diligence and dedication to duty along with their team members resulted in the seizures of 7,518 bags of rice and 5, 203 bags of rice respectively among other items within some couple of months.

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