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A financial services practitioner, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka has appealed to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to review its new directive on the supply of petroleum products to gas stations situated close to border areas within the country.
The three-time gubernatorial candidate who is from the Ogun West senatorial district of the state, made the appeal through his media office in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Thursday.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service on Wednesday suspended the supply of petroleum products to filling stations located within 20 kilometers to the nation’s borders with other countries.
In a circular released, the Customs service said the suspension of the supply of petroleum products became imperative following the closure of Nigeria’s borders to neighbouring countries and to check the smuggling of petroleum products.
Reacting, Isiaka said “although the order serves to discourage smuggling of petroleum products in or out of the country, the Customs Service should at the same time consider the plight of legal inhabitants of these communities whose daily lives will be adversely affected by the order as they are starved of petroleum products for local use and commuting around”.
According to him, “This directive would increase hardship and living conditions of border community members, as well as bring untold suffering on those who depend on petroleum products for their daily businesses”.
Isiaka observed that rather than ban the supply of petroleum products to the border areas, the Customs operatives should increase security and surveillance network in the areas to curtail bunkering and other illicit petroleum bussiness activities.
He said, “Besides the current inability of the people to move their farm produce to neighbouring communities because of border closures, they now have to face untold hardship to get fuel which is a needed commodity for virtually all business types in those deprived areas. These people now have to travel a whole 20km or more to get a gallon of pms to do businesses or power their motorbikes”.
“This directive is unfair on Nigerians living in these communities and I want to appeal that the policy be reviewed urgently, as it would mark the government out as one that protects the welfare of its people”; he noted.