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FG to open petrol stations to ease hardship

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By Abraham Adekunle

These filling stations will be along the international border areas.

Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi, has revealed that the Federal Government would open petrol stations along the international border areas to ease the hardship being faced by the residents of border areas. Earlier, the Federal Government had banned sale of petroleum products within a 20-kilometer radius to the international border in order to curb the smuggling of the products out of Nigeria to other neighbouring countries such as the Republic of Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic, among others.

Recently, concerned citizens of Ipokia, under the aegis of the Ipokia Youth Forum in Ipokia local government area of Ogun state (an international border town between Nigeria and Republic of Benin), have appealed to the Federal Government to lift the ban on the sale of petroleum products within 20-kilometer radius to the international border which has brought untold hardships on the residents. The forum decried the ban, especially at the time of the fuel subsidy removal in the country.

Ban of fuel sale has fueled black market sales of petrol.

According to the group, the ban has resulted in the black market sales of petrol as a liter of petrol retails for as much as N1,000 in the border areas. However, speaking at a press briefing organized by Ogun 1 Area Command of Nigeria Customs, the acting comptroller-general declared that the establishment of the filling stations would ease the hardship of residents of the border areas who pay outrageous prices for petrol as a result of measures being implemented to curb smuggling of the product and removal of fuel subsidy.

Speaking on the efforts to curb illicit trade in drugs and the use of hard drugs by Nigerian youths, Adeniyi expressed concern over the high rate of smuggling of hard drugs into the country from neighbouring countries as he confirmed that hard drugs are not only being smuggled into the country by land but also being brought in through creeks and air routes. “The country’s security is at great risk because youths have access to these drugs and are misbehaving seriously by taking it,” Adeniyi said, while assuring Nigerians that the Customs would intensify efforts against illicit trade and hard drugs smuggling.

An Ogun State NCS Command had made a number of seizures.

While reeling out statistics of seizures made within one month by Ogun 1 Area Command of Nigeria Customs, Adeniyi said that between September 18 and September 30, 2023, the officers of the command seized 1,436 used Pneumatic tyres, 53 sacks, and 569 parcels of Cannabis Sativa, weighing a total of 1,179 kilograms. Additionally, they apprehended 3,149 bags of foreign parboiled rice, each weighing 50 kilograms, alongside 32 vehicles used for conveyance, among other items. These seizures’ Duty Paid Value (DPV) amounts to an impressive N241,977,943.00.

Much earlier, Adeniyi had lamented the continuous smuggling of illicit drugs, rice, premium motor spirit (PMS) and other items through the borders. He said that it was compromising the nation’s revenue and economy as well as sabotaging food security. He had disclosed this during a briefing in August 2023, where officers of the agency displayed some seized items at the warehouse of the Customs Federal Operations Unit, Zone A in Ikeja, Lagos. He had said that as part of the NCS dedication to eradicating the menace of illicit drug trafficking, officers of the Federal Operating Unit Zone A, acting on credible intelligence, had flagged down a DAF Truck close to Ijebu-Ode Junction and made seizures.

NCS will continue to partner with NDLEA to curb drug abuse.

Importantly, he said that the codeine syrup, which is reportedly being abused by mostly young persons in society, is associated with addiction and, in the long-term, results in anxiety, depression, memory loss, and damage to the liver, kidneys and brain. Adeniyi said that the damaging effects of drugs have led to preventable deaths for consumers taking them outside doctors’ prescriptions. He said that the Service would continue to partner with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other relevant government agencies to curb the spread of the menace and protect the future generation.

Related Link

Nigeria Customs Service: Website

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