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Seized tankers: Ogun fuel marketers threaten to sue Customs


The Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria in the Idiroko border area of Ogun State has threatened to sue the Nigeria Customs Service over alleged secret auction of their seized 24 tankers loaded with fuel.



The dealers, owners of about 20 filling stations, also accused the operatives of the NCS at Idi-Iroko in the Ipokia Local Government Area of the state of carting away their N6m during a raid in the area.



The dealers, in a petition addressed to the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hammed Ali, through their lawyer, George Oyeniyi, alleged that the NCS operatives, in collaboration with men of Nigerian Army, stormed their stations using the 20km radius directive by the Federal Government as an excuse to seize their tankers.



They complained that 22 trucks were impounded at their various stations while the other two were allegedly taken on the road by the Customs officials without prior notice.



They claimed many of the affected petroleum dealers had ordered for the petroleum products before the directive preventing the sale of fuel within 20km to the border.



They further said the tankers were already loaded and heading for delivery at their designated stations when the Customs men struck.



The petition partly read, “Our clients, who comprise dealers and marketers of petroleum products fully licensed by various government agencies located within the Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State, suddenly heard sometime on November 7, 2019 through the media that the Nigeria Customs Service had just issued a directive suspending the supply and sale of petroleum products within 20km radius to the various border posts in Nigeria.



“Information at our disposal showed that most of the said 24 tanker trucks seized from our clients by the said men and officers of the NCS tagged border drill operation, in collaboration with some soldiers in military uniform, have been taken to the nearby military barracks at Owode where they are being negotiated for auction sale.



“Interesting to note is the fact that the purported auction of our client hard-earned property was being done secretly without any court order, press conference, or public announcement of the said seizure.”



When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Customs Ogun Command 1, Abdulahi Maiwadah, did not respond to a message sent to his phone on the matter.



Meanwhile, the Operations Controller, Department of Petroleum Resources, Adamawa State, Ibrahim Ciroma, has expressed satisfaction with border closure policy of the Federal Government.



He said the state used to take delivery of over 100 truck loads of petroleum products before the border closure but added this had dropped to between 30 and 40 trucks.



Ciroma stated this on Thursday when he undertook a tour of the border area in the state to assess the compliance with the DPR directive which put a stop to the supply of petroleum products to filling stations operating within 20 kilometres of the nation’s border area.



He said, “Before the border closure, Adamawa used to receive over 100 trucks of fuel daily but now the supply has dropped to between 40 and 30 trucks per day.



“This border closure has done a lot of good in checking smugglers



So, it’s a clear indication that fuel is not finding its way out of the country anymore.”
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