• Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

NCS, NNPC Strengthen Collaborations To Combat Fuel Smuggling


Jul 6, 2024

In a concerted effort to combat the smuggling of petroleum products in Nigeria, Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Adewale Adeniyi has reaffirmed his commitment to strengthening the collaboration between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited. This initiative aims to significantly reduce the smuggling of petroleum products outside Nigeria.

During a meeting with NNPC delegates on July 5, 2024, at the NCS headquarters in Abuja, CGC Adeniyi emphasized that smuggling poses a severe threat to the Nigerian economy. He pointed out that the disparity in fuel prices between Nigeria and neighboring countries creates a strong incentive for smuggling, which is why NCS, through ‘Operation Whirlwind,’ is intensifying efforts with other stakeholders to curb the illicit trade of Premium Motor Spirits (PMS).

“The operations we have conducted have highlighted several issues, but despite these challenges, we have made significant seizures from different parts of the country,” Adeniyi stated. “We have discovered ingenious methods used by smugglers to transfer supplies from depots to their stations. While the stations may appear empty from the front, they have hidden hoses linking to jerrycans and vehicles behind their walls, facilitating smuggling across borders.”

Adeniyi labeled smuggling as an act of economic sabotage, noting that offenders have been arrested, their products confiscated, and their filling stations sealed. He stressed that combating this crime is a major operation, placing a considerable burden on NCS resources, but it has been a rewarding endeavor. “We believe a strong partnership with NNPC is essential to sustain this operation over time,” he added.

Expressing his enthusiasm, Adeniyi highlighted the need for a situation room to enhance capacity through data collection and analysis. He also emphasized the importance of motivating and supporting NCS personnel to prevent compromises.

Coordinator of ‘Operation Whirlwind,’ Comptroller of Customs Hussein Ejibunu, reported that the operation, which began five weeks ago, has achieved notable victories. “We have tackled fuel smuggling not only in Adamawa but across the nation. Recently, we intercepted 79,000 liters of fuel about to be smuggled out of Kebbi State,” Ejibunu said. He underscored the importance of support from border communities and other agencies.

Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, acknowledged that smuggling of PMS is a major national challenge. He commended the efforts of ‘Operation Whirlwind’ in significantly reducing the volume of smuggled fuel and expressed readiness to provide any necessary support to combat the crime. “We are happy to work with you and appreciate the substantial impact of your collaboration so far,” Kyari stated.

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