By Okezie Nnadi
The petroleum smugglers lost the total amount of fifty -five millions , eight hundreds and three thousand Naira (55,803,000)through auction to the populace of SEME axis from January to September 2022.
The Controller of SEME command Comptroller Bello Mohammed Jibo revealed this to PM News during an interview session in his office recently.
Comptroller Jibo affirmed that if the smugglers will not relent they should expect more bitter experience from his officers and men who has vowed to render the act unattractive.
The Comptroller regards the attitude of the smugglers as being unpatriotic and greedy even when Nigeria government is paying subsidy for PMS through her nose from her dwindling economy to ease tension on her own citizen , then the smugglers are busy sabotaging the efforts .
He said that the seized PMS product is to be auctioned immediately according to the law because it fells under perishable items which are not meant to be kept.
The law, even says that the offenders of such items should be charged to court but unfortunately they ran away “ Jibo concluded.
He made it known that the product has been auctioned to the public according to the committee’s order, the total figures seized so far is 609 260 liters equivalent to 19 tankers of 33000 load each.
In the same vein the Comptroller sadly informed MARITIME Connect on how Nigeria has being recording low revenue income from the same axis as a result of double taxation.
He said that the importers now prefer to transact business through other axis apart from SEME because of double payment of duties, at the entry point from Benin.
According to Comptroller Jibo barely few months after the opening of boarder Benin Republic has Impose levy on goods transiting through their country to Nigeria .
The practice is contrary to the ECOWAS law . This particular action doesn’t promote trade but rather kills it.
“ We have had series of meetings with our colleagues from other part but the meetings has not yielded desire result yet we are hoping that Benin Republic government will regard the ECOWAS law and act accordingly as soon as possible so as to safe trade that is affecting greatly.
They are suppose to collect charges from goods on transit but it has not being so, what they now collect is even much more higher than what Nigeria government collects as duty, the act that was meant to promote trade is now killing it.
This practice of Benin Republic has drastically reduce the records of goods coming in from the axis and this has affected revenue figures into Nigeria purse .
The double taxation has made the importers to channel their goods through a cheaper route because it is being regarded as unnecessary extortion which normally ought not be so.
The importers now take their goods through where they can pay normal charges and be able to make some profits and still be in business unlike what it entails at the moment in SEME boarder axis.
The others who are yet to locate their bearings has now taken to smuggling of PMS product which is sold at 1000 Naira per liter in Benin but being purchase at 169Naira in Nigeria as the order of the day.
He said Unfortunately most of them are being caught and regrettably parting with huge some of money .
He frankly stated that Customs too will not to sieze fire .
The Comptroller advice the smugglers who has taken smuggling of PMS has their new trending business tto embrace legitimate business and enjoys the type of peace that radiates between the service and the host community.
The command enjoys a warm relationship with the host community in such that the huge seizures made in the recent time were as a result of the informations they gathered from the community. They revealed informations about the smugglers hide out and even give direct contacts which made it so easy for the officers . “What this signals is that the community itself don’t agree with the act of the unrepentant smugglers, they are equally tired and would like the offenders removed from their midst and have sane community to live in “
Based on this “Nigeria customs service agrees on the collaboration” . The community informs the service on any vital informations that could help to achieve their purpose.
The relationship is so cordial and it is earning dividends, the command has taken it upon itself to hype his responsibility by providing incentives to the community such as building of international parks at J5, Erection of public toilets for the use of the community where it’s needed etc.