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Customs intercepts 129,185 litres of fuel worth N90.5m in North-West

The Federal Operating Units( FOUs)  and marine commands of the Nigeria Customs Service intercepted a total of 129,185 litres of premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as fuel valued at N90.5 million , Comptroller General of Customs Service, Wale Adeniyi disclosed on  Monday in Yola, Adamawa State.

He said 54.48% of the seizures occurred in North-West region, including states such as Katsina, Kebbi, and Sokoto, while 23.87% of the seizures were recorded in the NorthEastern part of the country, particularly in states like Taraba and Adamawa,  noting that ,”these states have also seen a significant increase in fuel evacuation as reported by Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority( NMDPRA). 

Adeniyi was in Yola as part of efforts to addressing critical issue of fuel smuggling through the recently launched Operation Whirlwind, under the auspicesof the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

“Its now evident that the recent rise in the distribution of PMS to border states is driven by the activities of smugglers. A combine diversion of 280,135 litres of PMS  N196,524,075.50 raises serious economic concerns with broader implications on National Security.

“The quantum of this diversion is equivalent to the more that 84% of the daily evacuation of PMS to states like Ekiti and Jigawa. 

“It also represents around 32.57% of the daily evacuation to the border states of Borno and Katsina according to the data on average daily evacuation obtained from NMDPRA. These activities, if left unchecked, could further deteriorate the country’s economic situation and exacerbate current foreign exchange challenges.

“The influx of unaccounted foreign currency could be channelled into funding illegitimate activities, including the support of non-state actors engaged in criminal activities against the Nigerian state. These issues have serious implications for national security, making it imperative to check, curtail, and dismantle these illicit operations. Achieving this requires the cooperation and collaboration of patriotic government agencies, exemplified by the ongoing Operation Whirlwind”, he said.

He added that within seven days of intensive haunt by the Nigera’s customs code  smuggling at the Yola axis, Adamawa state led to confiscation of 150,950 litres valued at  N105.9 million.

Giving a breakdown of PMS seizures, customs CG disclosed 45,000 litres of PMS in a tanker was seized Friday 31, may 2024, at Mova, Adamawa, 45,000 litres of PMS in a tanker was seized at Mubi, Adamawa Saturday 1 June 2024, 2,375 litres of PMS in 95 25-liter jerry cans were seized at Mubi, Adamawa State on Monday 3 June 2024; 2,375 litres of PMS in 95 25-liter jerrycans seized at Mubi, Adamawa State amongst others.

“In addition to the ongoing operations under operation whirlwind, Customs Area Commands remain vigilant against the illicit activities of smugglers targeting petroleum motor spirit (PMS). The Service has recorded significant seizures of PMS from unpatriotic individuals attempting to deprive Nigerians of access to fuel and cause unnecessary hardship”.

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Written by Jude Diugwu

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