Lift Ban on Fuel Supply to Ogun Border Communities, Others, Senate Tells FG

The Senate Tuesday directed the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service ( NCS) and the National Security Adviser (NSA) to lift the subsisting restriction order placed on the supply of petroleum products to border communities.

Lifting of the restriction order, the Senate declared, was very necessary now, since fuel subsidy removal by the federal government had substantially put paid to the smuggling of petroleum products at border communities.

The Red Chamber accordingly mandated its committee on Customs and Excise when constituted, to ensure compliance and report back to the Senate in four weeks for possible further legislative action.

The resolutions followed consideration of a motion moved to that effect by Senator Solomon Adeola ( APC Ogun West) in fulfillment of his campaign promise to Ogun West border communities in the build-up to the February 25, 2023 National Assembly elections.

Senator Adeola, while leading debate on the motion, informed his colleagues that the federal government had on November 6, 2019 through the Comptroller-General of Customs directed that “no petroleum products is permitted to be discharged in any filling station within a radius of 20 kilometres to the border” of Nigeria.

He noted that the directive was to checkmate smuggling of Nigerian petroleum products, mostly premium motor spirit, PMS, to the neighbouring countries where there was a thriving market for petrol because of the subsidy that was still on the product until May 29, 2023 when President Bola Tinubu announced its removal in his inaugural speech.

“This policy had brought untold hardship and major losses to businesses of the residents and indigenes of the affected border communities, which later made the Nigerian Customs to relax the policy slightly by givei g licence to two or three petrol stations in each of the local government areas that bordered these neighbouring countries.

“But that remedy was just a drop of water in an ocean scarcity of petrol considering the mass population of the people affected in these border towns and communities,” he stressed.

Senator Adeola lamented further that thed restriction order has really affected the people living in border communities across Yewaland in Ogun State, particularly in Idiroko axis where he disclosed only five licensed independent petroleum marketers are allowed to dispense the commodity to over 500,000 residents with over 150 dispersed towns and villages.

All the Senators who contributed to debate on the motion, lamented the “untold hardships” being faced by the people living in border communities over restrictions on fuel as well as fertilizer, especially in the northern part of the country.