Senate Committee on Customs has Summoned Comptroller General Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to work out a viable economic framework that will mitigate the sufferings of the people and the communities across the border areas.
The policy of restricting supply of petrol to towns within 20 kilometers of the borders got the knocks on Wednesday at the Senate.
The Senate also urged Ali to urgently explore the use of modern technological devices in the “tracking, management, and scheduling of petroleum trucks that undertake business along the border towns.”
It also said the Customs should initiate a comprehensive audit of all petroleum stations and suppliers across the border communities, so as to closely monitor their movement and by mandating each moving truck to have a tracking device that is monitored by the Nigeria Customs Service in a wholesome manner
Besides, the Senate said the Customs boss should ensure a “steady supply of petroleum products through the identified suppliers and registered filling stations across all the border towns and communities as a temporary palliative measures; and Initiate a holistic policy approach, with the same vigour on the nation’s waterways.”
These resolutions followed a motion by Senator Tolu Odebiyi (Ogun West), titled: “The need to revisit the suspension placed on the supply of petroleum products to Border towns by the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).”
Odebiyi, in his lead debate averred that the Senate is aware of the remarkable progress made by the Federal Government in stopping the activities of smugglers, since the closure of all land borders in the country
He urged his colleagues to further note that while the “country has made some laudable progress in this regard, it appears there is no sustainable framework that has been put in place to ensure the proper coordination and implementation of this directive and its horrid impact on communities and residents living across the border.”
He recalled that on November 7, Nigerians woke up to another directive from the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, that no petroleum product should be supplied to any filling station within 20 kilometres to the borders.
He noted that “the order had created a huge scarcity of Petroleum products in the border towns of Ogun, Lagos, Adamawa, Katsina and Sokoto states, particularly in communities like Ilase, Megunle, ldiroko and Agosasa, among others, in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun state.
Odebiyi noted that the directive was a knee jerk approach to a modern day problem, “as it is obsolete when compared to the array of technological solutions that can be explored to rid the country of the menace.”
He urged senators to be worried that as a result of the order, many filling stations within 20 kilometres in Ipokia have been forcefully shut by the Federal Government’s task force on border closure, “brutalizing and illegally harassing residents in the process thereby, violating their rights to personal dignity as enshrined in Section 34(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)”