Nigeria's foremost Online Energy News Platform

Customs, NNPC, DPR to set up task force to tackle petroleum products smuggling

The Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Department for Petroleum Resources have resolved to set up joint committee to address smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.

The chief executives of the agencies made this known in a joint news conference after their meeting at the Customs’ headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd), said the meeting was to address the disturbing situation of smuggling of petroleum products outside the country.

Ali disclosed that after briefing by the heads of NNPC and DPR, they resolved to set up a joint task force comprising Customs, DPR and NNPC to tackle the problem head on.

He explained that some unlicensed filling stations along the borderline had been identified as being responsible for the smuggling of petroleum products.

According to him, the task-force will ensure the closure of such unlicensed filling stations and deal with any other ways used to smuggle petroleum products.

He said that with the collaboration, licenced filling stations sited along the borders would also be monitored.

He said: “This collaboration is important, we have the force but we need intelligence and information sharing to deal with this menace, we need a real time intelligence to nip this in the bud.

“We have 4,070 kilometres borders and it has been a challenge managing these borders effectively, and this underscored the need for us to collaborate with agencies like NNPC and DPR.’’

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, said he was excited over the intervention of Customs to address the problem of petroleum products smuggling.

Baru attributed the menace to the siting of unlicensed filling stations along the borderlines which were being used to smuggle the products outside the country.

According to him, they are taking advantage of the price parity as the products are cheaper in Nigeria and they smuggle to sell twice or thrice the price they are sold in Nigerian in neighbouring countries.

He said: “For instance, a litre of fuel in Benin Republic is N287.00, N267.00 in Niger Republic, N223 in Chad and N400.00 in Cameroon.

“This menace of smuggling of our products to neighbouring countries is bleeding the treasury and something must be done.

“We are happy and also appreciate the Comptroller-General of Customs for inviting us to brief them on this problem with a view to finding ways to address it.

“I am glad today, with the meeting we had, we have now gotten a clear road map to tackle this menace of smuggling of petroleum products.’’

The Director of DPR, Ladan Dantani, said his agency was ready to partner with the NCS to tackle the problem.

Dantani noted that the problems were identified during their meeting and they would all work together to deal with it.

He pledged his agency’s readiness to provide relevant intelligence and information to Customs to help in tackling the smuggling of petroleum products.