Border Fuel Supply Ban: IPMAN, Falana, others kicks

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Lagos lawyer Femi Falana (SAN), the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON), have frowned at the ban on supply of petroleum products to filling stations within 20 kilometers of land borders by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The Customs had through a communique signed by Deputy Comptroller-General in charge of Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation (EI & E), I. Chidi direct that henceforth, no petroleum product, no matter the tank size, is permitted to be discharged in any filling station within 20 kilometres to the border. Consequently, you are all to ensure strict compliance, please.” This is to stem the stide of smuggling of petroleum products out of Nigeria.
Reacting, the IPMAN National Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Maigandi said the measure will bring more hardship to the residents in the border towns adding that implementing the directive will short-change the marketers that are duly licensed by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to sell petroleum products in that domain.
Maigandi advised the NCS to seek other means of checkmating smuggling suggesting that the operatives of the joint security team should arrest the smugglers at the borders.
According to Maigandi, “If the Customs enforces that directive, we are going to go against it. There is no reason you should give somebody a license and you stop supplying him products because he is 20 kilometres from the border. They (marketers) have their license from the DPR; they can discharge their products in their filling stations.
“Even if the petrol stations are close to the borders, the NCS should go to the borders and put demarcations. With that, they can arrest anyone smuggling fuel through the borders. We are not encouraging smuggling but the government must not stop marketers from doing their legitimate business.”
On his part, the National President of Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON), Prince Ajibola Adedoyin, said the directive would stem the tide of economic sabotage and urged the government to implement the policy with a human face. He also advised the government to put palliatives in place to cushion the pains on the border dwellers.
Meanwhile, Falana challenged the power of the Comptroller-General of Customs to make such pronouncement.
Other stakeholders have challenged the powers the CGC Alli over the propriety of the directive. Besides, they contend that the Customs boss lacks the authority to make such pronouncements.
Falana said: “Since we are operating under a constitutional government, the Federal Government has no power to impose collective punishment on law-abiding citizens and corporate bodies. The filling stations were registered under the law by the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR). So, the CGC Alli lacks the power to ban them from carrying out their legitimate business.”