DPR: Fighting fuel smugglers along porous Adamawa borders

DPR officials

The Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) recently smoked out smugglers of petroleum products in Adamawa state by dismantling illegal depots located around border towns in the state.

The DPR Operations Controller in Adamawa State, Alhaji Ibrahim Ciroma, has commenced raid on hideouts of the smugglers, which have so far revealed 45 illegal filling stations that store the fuel for eventual transfer to Cameroon.

Ciroma has promised to put an end to the smuggling of petroleum products to the Cameroon Republic. One of the measures he said DPR has put in place to checkmate marketers that engage in smuggling petroleum products is to withdraw their operational licenses.

“ This is the worse economic sabotage so far. The Federal Government is paying marketers subsidy so that Nigerians can get the products at an affordable price, but here we are, with some people diverting it to other countries’ citizens that are not in any way contributing to the economic development of Nigeria. This is a display of unpatriotic behaviour,” he stated. 

Ciroma called on security agencies in the state to cooperate with DPR to fight the monster called smugglers and illegal filling stations, pointing out that the existence of smugglers is not only economic sabotage, but that they are a security threat to the country.

“ How are we sure they are not the people supplying fuel to Boko Haram? Since they choose to do business in a criminal way, they can do anything to make their money. So it is a big challenge to all Nigerians, it is not a fight for only the DPR, this group, I repeat are a big security threat to our country,” he fumed.

At one of the smugglers’ depot, which was constructed like a Fulani herdsmen settlement, the DPR team discovered over 300,000 of 50 liters capacity jerry cans filled with fuel and stockpiled inside the locally constructed tents near the Cameroon-Nigeria in Mubi south local government.

The DPR lamented that smugglers of petroleum products are using all criminal tactics to sabotage the Nigerian economy and pointed out that their actions constitute terrorist acts against the country. 

When the DPR discovered a trend in filling stations in Yola, where one to three trucks laden with fuel would be seen waiting to discharge, after a while, the trucks disappear overnight without discharging the content.

Ciroma said: “When they vanish, you know where they are likely to be, they may go to the border and cross. This is becoming worrisome.

“This has become the trend and we will continue to follow up to ensure that no product gets out of our border. We are now monitoring the movement of trucks and any single truck that is not accounted for, the marketer will face sanction; we will charge such marketer N275 per litre and seal the station if he fails to pay.

“We are going to do that because the rate at which fuel is finding its way across the border is unacceptable and I will also seize this opportunity to call on security agencies manning our borders to please step up their operations.”

According to him, the Federal Government was spending a lot on subsidy and bridging cost, ut those engaged in smuggling do not care because they collect the product at subsidised rate and sale it in Cameroon for over N300 per litre.

To tackle the 45 illegal stations the DPR has declared a two-month grace period for all operators to bring their unpatriotic acts to an end.

“We have communicated the development to the police and copied other security agencies. The DPR would not condone the practice of keeping loaded trucks in filling stations because of the dangers involved.

“Yola is a very hot place, if you keep loaded petrol trucks in the scorching sun anything can happen; if it catches fire it would burn down the filling station and all the people around.”

In Monduva village in Mubi South local government, the DPR team discovered in incomplete building designed like a filling station with tanks buried underground, housing petroleum products worth over 200,000 liters at two different locations near the Cameroon border.

The team removed the water pump machines the smugglers use to siphon fuel from the underground tanks and the generating set powering the pumps machines.

This is one of the border posts where Nigeria is bleeding away her hard-earned petrol resources!

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