Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Piqued by the sufferings of residents in border communities in Kwara State, due to the scarcity and high cost of petroleum products, the state governor, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, has appealed to the joint border operation drill, North Central zone, to mitigate the situation.
The development according to THISDAY checks might not be unconnected with the selling of petrol at the cost of N400 per litre as against N143 per litre, in the past few months.
Sources close to the members of the NUPENG, PTD and NURTW in the areas told THISDAY that selling of petrol above the official price was crippling socio-economic activities in the areas.
However, Abdulrasaq, while receiving the audience of the North Central
Joint border drill operations, Mohammad Garba, at the Government House, Ilorin, said there are challenges of supply of petroleum products to border communities in the state.
According to him, “On order of the federal government that all filling stations selling petroleum products 20 kilometers away from border communities should be closed down, we have many border communities in the state and there are challenges getting the commodities to these areas.”
He said, “We’ll want to work with you so we can get petrol there, probably designating few petrol stations to sell the product, if not all, so we can mitigate their sufferings and make petrol available to them.
“The issue of border closure is a wakeup call to us as a country. There are enormous challenges ahead to Nigeria due to trade agreement signed with other neighbouring countries with free trade and free movement of people.
“There is also a challenge of smuggling of goods. So, our borders and trade need to be secured and protected against negative effect of the agreement.”
The governor, who promised to be proactive with the security group, commended the operation drill for the prevailing relative security in the state, saying issue of border closure centres around security and economy.
He also called for adequate welfare and proper equipment to help them carry out their jobs, saying the government would do its best to assist and support in any way possible.
Also speaking, Garba, said plans were on the way to ensure relief in the area.
He said, “We are aware of the difficulty being faced by border communities in the state. We have been there to sensitise the people. Plans are underway to ensure people who genuinely use petrol get relief very soon.”