The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has appealed to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to allow fuel trucks access to border towns and remote villages.
The minister’s appeal is contained in a statement released on Friday by his spokesman, Uwa Suleiman.
Nigeria recently closed its borders to neighbouring nations to curb illicit importation and improve local manufacturing of goods. The borders remain closed till January 2019.
Customs Comptroller-General, Hameed Ali, also recently announced a ban on petroleum products to filling stations sited within 20 kilometres of Nigeria’s land borders.
Telecom operators recently warned that some regions in the country will experience communication disruptions due to the restrictions of trucks supplying diesel to transceiver base stations close to the border area.
Pantami said officers of NCS deployed to border towns should identify drivers carrying petroleum supplies and grant them concession.
Pantami also called on the office of the National Security Adviser to address the issue of vandalisation of telecommunications infrastructure in some parts of the country.
He advised the governors of the affected states to take prompt actions to ensure protection of critical infrastructure.
“Numerous complaints reaching the Minister’s office allege that men of the service (Customs), especially around border towns where BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) are located, deny passage to petrol tank drivers, thereby denying them access to refuel generators supplying power to these base stations. The effects of these acts are a threat to national security and economic growth and cannot be ignored.
“The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, while applauding the revived efforts of the NCS in tackling the activities of smugglers, however, urges the service to direct its officers deployed to these locations, to identify and grant concession to genuine drivers carrying petroleum supplies to remote locations and are a critical link in the chain.
“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, is centred around a Digital Economy and the telecoms sector occupies a central position in the scheme of things. It is of utmost importance that public institutions collaborate and form partnerships that will ensure the security and prosperity of all Nigerians.”