By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
August 1 (Newshour.com.ng) – Following the removal of fuel subsidy, the Nigeria Senate has directed the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, and the National Security Adviser, NSA, to lift the subsisting restriction order placed on the supply of petroleum products to border communities, as the fuel subsidy removal by the federal government has substantially put paid to the smuggling of the products and therefore, should be allowed to circulate freely without restrictions.
The Red Chamber also urged the Offices of the Comptroller General and NSA to intensify preventive and enforcement measures to combat smuggling of all kinds in the country.
These resolutions followed the consideration of a motion to that effect by Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Ogun West) today at plenary.
Senator Adeola, had while leading debate on the motion, informed the Senate that the federal government on November 6, 2019 through the Comptroller General of Customs directed that “no petroleum products is permitted to be discharged in any filling station within a radius of 20 kilometres to the border” of Nigeria.
This directive according to him, is to checkmate smuggling of Nigerian petroleum products, mostly premium motor spirit, PMS, to neighbouring countries where there was a thriving market for petrol because of subsidy that was still on the product until May 29, 2023 when President Bola Tinubu announced its removal in his inaugural speech.
He, however, noted that the remedy led to scarcity of petrol which brought untold hardship and major losses to businesses of residents and indigenes of the affected border communities, considering the mass population of the people affected in the border towns and communities.
All other senators who contributed to the motion, lamented the untold hardships the people living in border communities face over restrictions on fuel as well as fertilizer, especially in the Northern part of the country.
In its further resolution, the Senate, mandated its Committees on Customs and Excise, and National Security and Intelligence, when constituted, to ensure compliance and report back in four weeks for further legislative action.