By Udeme Akpan
The smuggling of petrol across Nigerian the borders has increased as illegal traders make N55 per litre on the product.
Investigations at Idi Iroko and other border communities in Ogun State over the weekend, showed that a litre of petrol was sold at N200 at the boundary and as much as N250 per litre in Benin Republic.
This means that a greater part of Nigeria’s imported and subsidised fuel is illegally used to meet demand in other West African nations, especially Benin, Togo and Liberia.
Consequently, many people have been attracted to participate in the illegal trade in petrol and other petroleum products.
Many illegal traders were seen retailing the product in bottles, which was highly patronised by motorcyclists, taxi drivers and others in the area.
A trader who preferred not to be named disclosed that the fuel comes mainly from illegal bunkering and vandalised facilities in the Niger Delta and other parts of Nigeria.
Kachikwu confirms under recovery
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, had a few weeks ago, stated that the downstream and midstream sectors of the Nigerian petroleum industry continue to remain challenged, disclosing that the price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, was rising above the current pump price.
According to him, “the traders who bring the product from the Niger Delta, Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan and other cities have wholesalers with storage facilities in areas that pay cash or take it on credit based on agreed terms.
Mr. Joseph Attah, spokesman of the Nigeria Customs Service said in a telephone interview that the smuggling of petrol and other petroleum products should be perceived as a crime against the state.
According to him, the organisation has carried out various patrols to tackle the menace in the bordering communities.
He said that the Customs can do more if members of the public, including communities are willing to provide useful information.