BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – The Senate on Wednesday called for a steady supply of petroleum products through the identified suppliers and registered filling stations across all Nigeria’s border towns and communities as a temporary palliative measures.
This was part of the resolutions reached by the Senate following a motion moved by Senator Tolulope Odebiyi (Ogun West), on the need to revisit the suspension order placed on the supply of petroleum products to border towns by the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service.
Nigeria’s Customs Service last week issued a directive suspending supply of Petroleum products to fuel stations within 20km of Nigeria’s border as a measure to check smuggling of the products.
The Senate resolved to engage the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to work out a viable policy framework to mitigate the sufferings of communities along the nation’s borders due to suspension of petroleum supply to the areas.
The Senate committee on Customs was directed by the Senate to summon the Custom’s Comptroller General for interaction.
The Upper chamber of the National Assembly called on the NCS boss 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.
Odebiyi had argued that while laudable progress was achieved by the closure of the nation’s land borders, it appeared there was no sustainable framework in place to ensure proper coordination and implementation of the directive and its negative impact on communities in the area.
He described the directive suspending supply of petroleum products to filling stations within 20 kilometres to the borders as “knee jerk” approach to a modern problem, which he described as obsolete, when compared to the array of technological solutions that can be explored to rid the country of the menace.
According to him; “As a result of the directive, many filling stations in the affected areas have been shut forcefully by the Federal Government task force on border closure, and in the process brutalised and harassed residents, thus violating their rights.”
He expressed concern that the price of a litre of fuel has jumped to as high as N600, adding that, “the situation if not properly addressed as soon as possible would further compound an already bad situation created by the prolonged border closure thus exerting more hardship on the people.”