Customs partners NNPCL to tackle fuel smuggling

Customs partners NNPCL to tackle fuel smuggling


In a bid to conquer the war against the smuggling of petroleum products in Nigeria, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi has reassured of his commitment to reinvigorate the existing collaboration between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited to effectively combat the smuggling of petroleum products outside Nigeria.

In a meeting with the Group Managing Director of NNPCL on Friday at the NCS headquarters in Abuja, Adeniyi stated that smuggling constitutes a severe national burden on the Nigerian economy.

He said the huge difference in the prices of fuel between Nigeria and neighbouring countries creates a very huge incentive for smuggling, and that is why the NCS, through ‘Operation Whirlwind’, is working with other stakeholders to intensify efforts in ensuring that smuggling of petrol is brought to the barest minimum.

He said, “The operations that we have done have thrown up a number of issues, but despite them, I am happy we have made fantastic seizures from different parts of the country, and we saw the ingenious ways in which smugglers take supplies from depot and place in their stations. The stations might look empty from the front. Still, directly behind, they have linked the hoses through some artificial holes created in their walls into waiting jerrycans and vehicles from where they take them across the borders.

“It is an act of economic sabotage, and those that we have seen, we have arrested them, confiscated the product that were seen, we sealed up the filling stations, and we have handed them over to the regulatory authorities to handle. Some filing station operators tactically devise means to smuggle fuel in a way that is not noticeable.”

Also, the Coordinator of ‘Operation Whirlwind’ Comptroller of Customs, Hussein Ejibunu, stated that the operation started five weeks ago and has recorded many achievements.

He said, “There is no operation that does not have challenges, and we have been able to put them aside with the help of the CGC. We have tackled fuel smuggling not only in Adamawa but across the nation. We recently showcased about 79,000 litres of fuel that was about to be smuggled out of Kebbi state. This is an indication that we are desirous to do the job, but we need absolute support of the border communities and other agencies.”

Also speaking, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, stated that the smuggling of petrol is a major national challenge for the country.

“We are available to provide any necessary support to combat this crime in our borders. We are happy to work with you, and we appreciate you for the enormous impact of your collaboration so far,” he said.