Politics

Petroleum unions support FG suspension of fuel supply to border stations

Hameed Ali, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service

The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have declared their support for the decision of the Federal Government to suspend the supply of petroleum products to petrol stations within 20 kilometres of all border posts.

Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, had ordered all commands through the Deputy Comptroller General Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, Augustine Chidi, to ensure petroleum tankers do not discharge content 20km to the borders.

“The Comptroller-General of Customs has directed that henceforth no petroleum product no matter the tank size is permitted to discharge fuel in any filling station within 20 kilometres to a border. Consequently, you are to ensure strict and immediate compliance please,” the letter to all zonal coordinators titled “EII/2019/Circular No 027 suspension of petroleum products supply to filling stations within 20 kilometres to all borders,” reads in part.

NUPENG in its reaction to the directive said that the union was in support of the decision. According to Afolabi Olawale, the General Secretary of NUPENG, fuel stations located 20km to the borders were more than the fuel stations inside the towns.

“One wonders what economic motive drives the establishment of such a large number of filling stations close to the border,” he said.

“The only explanation would be that they are being used as conduit pipe through which smuggled petroleum products are taken out of the country.”

“We are in full support of the move. It is in continuation of the efforts to stop smuggling of petroleum products and other goods across the borders,” he noted, adding that the decision would not affect Nigerians.

The Punch however reports that residents of border communities expressed concern over the decision, saying that it would only worsen their suffering.

The border communities further noted that customs incompetence was responsible for smuggling because the Federal Government knows the capacity of communities around the borders.

Also, PENGASSAN in its reaction through Fortune Obi, the union spokesman, said it was a good move which will end products insufficiency in Nigeria.

“It is a good development because this is one of the things we have been talking about. Why do we often have products’ insufficiency in Nigeria?

  “Why is this so when those who share borders with us are taking the products, which, of course, is not good for the country?

 “We import petroleum products with huge foreign exchange, so why should it be smuggled out of the country when we don’t even have enough at times in the country?”

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