Daji Sani in Yola
Smuggling activities yesterday claimed five lives in Mubi town of Adamawa State despite the efforts of the federal government to curtail smuggling of petrol products to neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, smugglers of petrol products have continued to have a field day around the borders between Nigeria and Republic of Cameroon
It was estimated that more than three thousands lives have been lost in five years in Adamawa State as a result of the activities, thereby frustrating the country’s economy.
Experts told THISDAY that the increase of these smuggling activities was caused by the porousness of the Nigerian borders, adding that the development had made it cumbersome for the Customs, Immigration and security agencies to alienate smuggling activities especially petrol products around the borders of Nigeria.
Check revealed that some owners of petrol stations around the borders and even within the state capital were the ones aiding the illegal activities.
It was also revealed that the cause of the petrol fire incident that claimed five lives in Mubi town yesterday was as a result of trying to evacuate the products into Jerry cans to ease transportation of the products to Cameroon through the use of motorcycles.
“These motorcycles aid the smugglers to navigate difficult terrains to escape from the Customs officers or escaped from being caught by security agencies,: the source said.
However, eyewitness said the fire started at a filling station in the early hours of last Wednesday when fuel was being transferred from a petrol tanker directly into hundreds of Jerry cans at Kasuwan Gyela in Mubi
He said at least five persons were burnt to death as a result of the inferno while many others sustained injuries.
According to him, “They usually take these petrol products to Cameroon and sell it with the aid of motorcycles. This was why they load the products into Jerry cans in order to be convenient for motorcycles to conveyed it to Cameroon
“This is their kind of business around this area, because petrol is very expensive in Cameroon and they usually make double profit.”
The source said the unfortunate fire incident happened because they were trying to evacuate the petrol products into Jerry cans to ease their journey to Cameroon.
A volunteer aid worker, Adamu Madobi, said he witnessed three brothers die in the unfortunate incident.
Madobi added that more than dozens of tricycles parked around the filling station were also destroyed in the fire.
Confirming the incident, the Executive Secretary, Adamawa State Emergency
Management Agency (ADDEMA), Dr. Muhammad Sulaiman, said three persons had died while two others were receiving treatment in a hospital.
He said the fire had been put out by the fire service personnel, and everything was under control at the time of filling this report.
However, experts have called for thorough investigation into the matter, because the incident has become a thing of serious concern.