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ICYMI: Reps give customs seven days to provide details of auctioned petroleum products

ICYMI: Reps give customs seven days to provide details of auctioned petroleum products
July 08
19:38 2022

The house of representatives’ ad hoc committee on the volume of fuel consumed daily in Nigeria has given the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) seven days to provide details of the premium motor spirit (PSM) seized and auctioned by the agency.

Hammed Ali, comptroller-general of the NCS appeared before the committee on Wednesday and said the agency needs a court order to auction other petroleum products except for petrol.

Ali, who was represented by Erim Edorhe, deputy comptroller general, enforcement, investigation, and inspection, reacted to questions bothering on imported petroleum products being smuggled into the neighbouring countries.

“Customs is not folding its hands, we are doing our work. The borders are there, we have the joint border patrol in place. Yes, we are daily intercepting these items as they attempt to move out, some of them in tankers, some of them in drums, then in jerry cans. And some of these smugglers have this ingenuity of having petroleum products in polymer bags that you would not know. But daily, we seize them,” he said.

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“We are always ahead of whatever method they adopt. In 2021, a total of 2,278,297 litres and with a duty paid value to the tune of N501,514,178,692.50 was intercepted.”

He further added that although the seized petroleum products do not require a court injunction before being auctioned.

“When you intercept inflammable products, you don’t keep them because of the possibility of fire around the premises. So, such items are auctioned and the money paid into the federation account,” he added.

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On his part, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, a member of the committee, said the lawmakers should probe into the seizures and auctions “so we can satisfy the public that these things were properly managed.”

However, while giving his ruling, Abdulkadir Abdullahi, chairman of the committee, gave customs seven days to provide the details and directed the clerk to write the comptroller-general of the NCS to give the full details of the products seized, auctioned, the auctioneers, the volume, the value and any other related matter to this application.”

“The product seized, the auctions, the payments, and the auctioneers and those who bought (the auctioned petroleum products) should be made available to us. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned so that we can look at these things critically and positively. He came with the list of the seized products but he didn’t give us an orderly. So, I ask that he gives it to us so we can also cross-check. He may wish to tender that,” he said.

Responding to the chairman’s request, the NCS boss said; “I am going to give you that; I will get back with the figure from 2015 to 2021.”

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