The Senate on Wednesday summoned the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), over the recent ban on petroleum products’ supply to border communities.
The red chamber took the decision after an exhaustive debate on a motion jointly sponsored by Senators Tolu Odebiyi and Ade Fadahunsi.
The motion was on the need to revisit the suspension order placed on the supply of petroleum products to border towns by the Comptroller General of the NCS.
The NCS boss had placed a ban on fuel supply to towns and villages that are 20 kilometres to border areas and the development had caused untold hardship for Nigerians.
Senators who made contributions on the matter, lamented the sufferings being experienced by residents of border areas in the country but failed to ask the NCS to lift the ban.
The Senate asked the Customs CG to urgently explore the use of modern technological devices in the tracking, management, and scheduling of petroleum trucks along the border towns;
They also asked him to initiate a comprehensive audit of all petroleum stations and suppliers across the border communities.
The senators said such an arrangement would enable the agency to closely monitor their movement by mandating each moving truck to have a tracking device being monitored by the NCS in a wholesome manner.
They also mandated the Senate Committee on Customs in collaboration with the CG Customs, to work out a viable economic framework or policy that could further mitigate the sufferings of the people, and communities across the border areas.
They also demanded a steady supply of petroleum products through the identified suppliers and registered filling stations across all the border towns and communities as a temporary palliative measure.
They also called for a holistic policy approach, with the same vigour on the nation’s waterways.
Presenting his motion, Odebiyi said the Senate was aware of the remarkable progress made by the Federal Government in stopping the activities of smuggling, since the closure of all land borders in the country;
He noted that the country had made some laudable progress, but that there appeared to be no sustainable framework that had been put in place to ensure the proper coordination and implementation of the directive.
He said, “On Thursday 7th of November 2019, Nigerians woke up to another directive from the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, that no petroleum product should be supplied to any filling station within 20 kilometres to the borders;
“Following a detailed investigation by the PUNCH NEWSPAPERS as published on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 the order had created a huge scarcity of Petroleum products in the border towns of Ogun, Lagos, Adamawa, Katsina, and Sokoto states.
“The situation is worse particularly in communities like Ilase, Megunle, ldiroko, and Agosasa, among others, in the Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.
“This directive is a knee jerk approach to a modern-day problem, as it is obsolete when compared to the array of technological solutions that can be explored to tackle the menace.”