Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, has tasked the paramilitary agencies to stem the tide of fuel smuggling out of Nigeria, saying that the trend was an economic sabotage against the nation.
He spoke at a meeting with heads of paramilitary agencies on Tuesday, at the backdrop of development that the Federal government would no longer remove fuel subsidy anytime soon as was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed during a meeting with the Senate leadership on Monday.
He said it’s important that the current administration should look for a way forward in the management and administration of fuel subsidies in Nigeria.
Lawan said they were aware of the smuggling of petroleum products, which the government was still paying for the subsidy, while he asked the security operatives to stop the smugglers at all cost.
According to him, he convened the meeting to look for ways to checkmate the smuggling of petroleum products outside Nigeria borders in order to equally reduce the cost of fuel subsidy, insisting that the government cannot continue to pay subsidy for products not consumed locally.
Lawan acknowledged the effort of paramilitary agencies in combating smugglers which he said have been herculean, but said, they were entering into another special moment as the smuggling of petroleum products would have to be minimised at all cost.
“Our situation is such that we cannot afford anymore to allow this smuggling business to continue because the cost is very huge and debilitating to our people.
“At some point, I will hold a meeting with the National Security Adviser, who is supposed to coordinate the entire security apparatus for protecting our borders.
He promised to further engage the military, particularly the Navy, given that the products are transported through waterways.
He said: “At the end of the day, what we hope to achieve is to minimise or where possible eliminate the incidents of smuggling of petroleum products that we import into the country for our people.
“The figures of what we consume in the country continue to fluctuate. At one point it was almost 100 million litres per day and surely this is difficult to believe that we consume almost 100 million litres per day within our borders. Certainly, a good percentage of it goes out.
In attendance at the meeting were the Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali(rtd), Commandant General, Nigerian Civil Defence Corps, Ahmed Abubakar Audi, representative of the Director-General of the State Security Service, San Gesto and representative of the Comptroller General of Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Ishaka Abdulmumini