June 16, 2009

Customs gets two helicopters to monitor petroleum export

By Godfrey Bivbere
After over 20 years of non monitoring of the nation’s   petroleum export following the inability of the Nigeria  Customs Service (NCS) saddled with the responsibility to get to the loading points, the Service has acquired two brand-new helicopters which are presently being assembled for that purpose as well as to combat smuggling.

Disclosing this in Abuja , Assistant Comptroller General (ACG) of Customs in charge of Strategy, Research and Planning (SR&P), A. E. Adegoke, told members of the House Committee on Customs during the recent public hearing, that the Service has acquired two for the monitoring of Nigeria’s petroleum export.

Adegoke explained that the two helicopters are already in the country and are being coupled in readiness for operation in the next couple of weeks.

Members of the committee had queried the management of the Service’s inability to monitor the volume of petroleum export.

Responding to the query, Deputy Comptroller General (DCG), E.O. Okeniyi, told the legislative members that the Service do not have means of transporting it officials to the loading point for them to monitor the volume of products being loaded.

On how they have been computing the volume of products that have been exported out of the country in the last 20 years or so, Okeniyi said that they rely on the documents brought to them by representatives of the oil companies that they depend on.

The Members of the committee therefore charge the Customs team to the hearing to the process and ensure that they go to the loading point to strictly monitor the volume of products being exported to curb huge financial loss which the country had suffered in the past.

Jerry Manwe, a member of the committee and also the Chairman of the committee on interior, complained about midstream discharged which he said is being exploited by some shipping companies to defraud government of accruable revenue.

Other members of the committee who contributed to the issue called on the management of the Customs to work closely with Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Police to ensure that the directive issued by former President Olusegun Obasanjo is obeyed to the latter since there is no contrary directive.