By  Eromosele Abiodun

In continuation of its relentless onslaught in combating the smuggling of petroleum products, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Seme Comand has smashed a gang of petroleum products smugglers along the Seme border.

The Customs Area Controller Mohammed Aliyu, who disclosed this in a chat with journalists,  said that the command will continue to do what it can to rid the border of smugglers.

The comptroller stressed that the NCS Command, as an agency of the federal government, has always and will continue to enforce her statutory mandate of revenue generation, suppression of smuggling and facilitation of legitimate trade.

He said the command will also continue to protect the international land border against illicit smuggling and trafficking of small and light weapons across the border along the West African sub region.

According to him, the NCS  operational norms do  not allow trucks/tankers of petroleum products to cross the Nigeria territory neither through the Seme main border  nor its Owode-Apa outstation .

He noted that the Owode-Apa Outstation is synonymous to every approved border post manned by all relevant government security agencies (Nigeria Customs, Police, Immigration, Air force, Navy, DSS, SON, NAFDAC, Quarantine, Civil Defense, among others).

“This is because all loaded trucks with petroleum products meant for Seme axis are strictly monitored and documents provided are carefully scrutinized in order to avoid diversion/infractions, and to equally ensure that the products meant for the axis are actually discharged strictly at the approved filling station along Seme main border or Owode-Apa border communities, “he said.

The command’s helmsman further disclosed that officers of the anti-bunkering unit are always detailed to escort all loaded incoming trucks to ensure strict compliance in discharging the products to the approved filling stations in the border communities.

 “The surveillance becomes inevitable because Nigerians who resides along the borders have the right to be served with these products for their local economic activities, once the approved structures are in the community and the documents of the products are verified to be approved to them by the DPR,” he added.

Furthermore, he said that the Seme border command will continue to patrol all the nooks and crannies of the border to checkmate and ensure that the products discharged and sold to individuals  who may always attempt smuggling  it out through the creeks or illegal route at night are apprehended and seized.

He showcased a total of 2200x25liters of premium motor spirits (petrol) that have been seized from December 1, 2017 to date, mostly at Pashi-Yekeme community in Owode and the creeks. Giving a total liters of 55,000 with a Duty Paid Value of over N10,000,000.00

He further buttressed the point that the smuggling of this product in Jerrycans, has been a recurring decimal that their operatives always nib in the bud.

“This has been our modest contribution in ameliorating the suffering of Nigerian masses over the current shortage of the PMS products, “he stated.

The Comptroller assured all Nigerians that the present leadership of the Nigeria Customs Service led by Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) is ready to bring all erring officers who circumvents government efforts to face the  consequences of their actions once their operations is seen to be at abeyance or not in sync with our core mandates.

He warned all smugglers and perpetrators (economic saboteurs) of this illicit acts to desist from it or when caught will be made to face the full wrath of the law as others are currently being prosecuted.