Amid the crippling situation of fuel scarcity in most parts of the country, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has confiscated a total of 2,200 jerrycans laden with premium motor spirit (PMS) or petrol.
The jerrycans, which were confiscated at Pashi-Yekeme community in Owode and the creeks were meant to be ferried to other neighbouring countries.
According to the Customs Area Comptroller of Seme Border, Comptroller Mohammed Aliyu, the 55,000 litres of fuel with a duty-paid value of ₦10 million was in 25-litre jerrycans.
He disclosed that the smuggling of the product in jerrycans has been a recurring decimal in the area and the security operatives have always nipped the act in the bud.
“This has been our modest contribution in ameliorating the sufferings of Nigerians over the current shortage of the PMS products,” he said.
The Comptroller, however, assured all Nigerians that the present leadership of NCS led by Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), is ready to bring all erring officers who frustrate government’s efforts to face the consequences of their actions.
Similarly, he warned all smugglers and perpetrators (economic saboteurs) to desist from the illicit act or face the law. He restated that the NCS operational norms do not allow trucks/tankers of petroleum products to cross the Nigerian territory either through the Seme main border or its Owode-Apa outstation, noting that the Owode-Apa outstation is synonymous to every approved border post manned by all relevant government security agencies.
Meanwhile, the Western Marine Command of NCS, Saturday, seized 17,625 litres of petrol worth N 2.6 million (at the official price of N145 per litre).
The fuel, which was stored in 705 jerrycans were seized at Yekeme Creek when the smugglers were in the process of evacuating the kegs into their boats, preparatory to taking them to neighbouring countries. (Western Marine Customs) Comptroller, Sarkin Kebbi Mustapha, told journalists that prior to this seizure, his command had last October and November, seized 2000 and 950 kegs of fuel respectively, on their way to neighbouring countries.
“This seizure is instructive because it came when the country is experiencing acute fuel crisis. It is carlous for anybody to attempt to smuggle fuel out of the country at the time Nigerians are passing through acute fuel scarcity. Before the fuel crisis, we had been doing our best to block this act of callousness by smugglers. Now it is even more expedient that all avenues through which smugglers take out PMS, are totally blocked.”