Yesterday, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Ogun West) raised a motion at the Senate meeting, urging the federal government to lift the subsisting ban placed on the supply of petroleum products to border communities across the country. The government had, through the Nigeria Customs Service, banned the supply of petroleum products to filling stations within 20km of the borders.
The ban followed complaints by the NNPC that filling stations in border towns were funnels for smuggling subsidized petrol to neighboring countries. The 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 relax the policy slightly by giving licenses to two or three petrol stations in each of the local government areas that border these neighboring 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.
Senator Adeola, in his motion, noted that the petrol subsidy removal by the government had substantially put paid to the smuggling of the products and therefore, should be allowed to circulate freely without restrictions. The Senate has mandated its Committees on Customs and Excise, and National Security and Intelligence, when constituted, to ensure compliance and report back in a week.