Border closure: FG uncovers illegal petrol stations along Nigeria-Niger border

The Federal Government on Monday said it had uncovered “hundreds of filling stations” along Nigeria’s Magama Jibia border with the Republic of Niger purposely set up for the smuggling of petroleum products.

The government identified fuel smuggling, illegal migration, importation of arms and ammunition and smuggling of rice from the Republic of Benin to Nigeria through Niger Republic as some of the challenges of border policing.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated these when he led a delegation of the Federal Government to Magama Jibia, Nigeria’s border with Niger Republic.

On the delegation were Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba; Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum and top echelon of Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigeria Customs Service.

The Minister said that since the closure of the nation’s borders, Nigeria had recorded over 30 per cent in domestic fuel consumption.

The government’s delegation last week visited the Seme border in Lagos State to start the on-the-spot assessment of the ongoing border drill in the South-South (Sector 1), South-West (Sector 2), North-Central (Sector 3) and North-West (Sector 4).

Mohammed said, “We have just assessed the border drill in Sector 4 (North-West). Please note that the challenges in Sector 4 are different from what we witnessed in Sector 2, especially Seme. Whereas rice smuggling is the main issue in Sector 2, the challenges here in Sector 4 include fuel smuggling, illegal migration and importation of arms and ammunition. Of course, rice from Benin is also smuggled to Nigeria through Niger.

“Smuggling of petroleum products out of Nigeria has been greatly reduced. The closure of filling stations along the border is a huge success. There are hundreds of filling stations along the border. We counted many as we drove to the border this (Monday) morning.

“They were set up purposely for smuggling. They don’t sell the fuel consignment they receive to the public. No! Plus 50 per cent of them are owned by foreigners.

“The drill has drastically curtailed the inflow of arms and ammunition. Bandits and terrorists are finding it hard to procure arms and ammunition, hence we have recorded a reduction in cases of cattle rustling, kidnapping and armed banditry which were predominant in the North-West region.

“These acts have now been significantly reduced. The arms and ammunition being used by violent extremists and criminal elements no longer make their way into the country through the land borders. Of course, this will also have a negative effect on the insurgency.

“We have recorded over 30 per cent increase in revenue since the drill. Gentlemen, before the drill, the borders contributed nothing to the revenue. Nothing. Customs was recording about N4. 5 billion daily. Since the closure, the figure has increased to between N5 and N8 billion daily.

“The North West Sector, of the four sectors affected by the drill, has recorded the highest success in terms of reduction of illegal migration.”

Punch
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