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Nigeria Customs intercepts over 234 tonnes of fertilizer along Cameroon border

Nigeria Customs Command and Seized Bags of Fertilizer File Photo

*The Comptroller of Nigeria Customs Service says the agency seizes 4,649 bags of smuggled fertilizer weighing 234.5 tonnes, and other items at the country’s border with Cameroon

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adamawa/Taraba Area Command has said the regulatory agency seized 234.5 tonnes of fertilizer and other contraband about to be smuggled into Cameroon Republic.

The Service said it had recorded 69 seizures along Nigeria-Cameroon border with the Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N232.11 million between January and June 2022, agency report said.

Mr. Adegboyega Ganiyu, Comptroller of Customs,  in charge of the Command, stated this while responding to a NAN’s survey on smuggling of government’s subsidised products.

Ganiyu disclosed that the Service had scaled up patrol and campaign activities to tackle smuggling in the West African country.

The personnel of the Service, Comptroller of Customs stated, seized 4,649 bags of fertiliser weighing 234.5 tonnes and other items at the entry and exit points of Nigerian border with Cameroon.

He also listed other items to include 22 vehicles; 1,500 sachets of Tramadol tablet, 392 bags of foreign rice and 70 bags of unpeeled foreign rice.

The NCS Comptroller attributed the feat achieved to the energy with sister security agencies and support of members of the general public.

Ganiyu further noted that  had declared zero tolerance for any act capable of undermining the economic strength of the country.

The Service will not allow unscrupulous elements bent on sabotaging the economy of the country to take advantage of the proximity to the border by engaging in illicit trans-border activities, stated he.

The Comptroller said in Borno State, North-East, which shared common border with Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republics, smuggling had reduced because of closure of the border occasioned by the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

Borno border Cameroon in the east, Chad in the northeastern part, and Niger Republic to the north.

However, some elements have been engaged in smuggling of petrol and fertilizer along the border despite the ban the Nigeria Military imposed on circulation of Urea brand of fertilizer in Borno and Yobe.

Report noted Shettima Ali, an oil marketer, said the lucrative nature of smuggling attracted many people in the border communities despite the risks.

According to him, petrol was being sold above N600 per litre while a bag of fertilizer sold above N40,000 in neighbouring countries.

Ali said: “The smugglers usually pass through Michika, Madagali or Mubi in Adamawa to smuggle contraband into the neighbouring countries.

“Sometimes petrol concealed in five-litre keg is transported on trucks and motorcycles through Gaidam in Yobe.

The marketer further stated: “Fertilizer is in high demand here and across the border.

“It is banned by the military because the insurgents used it to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).”

He also noted: “Smuggling is highly dangerous because when you get caught you will be level as Boko Haram supplier or collaborator.”

Likewise, Mr. Bukar Babagana, a member of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), in Borno State, who reportedly corroborated an earlier opinion, alleged that many fraudulent marketers amassed wealth through petrol smuggling along the Nigerian borders.

Babagana also alleged that some filling stations in border communities engaged in illicit trade.

Address the smuggling menace

As a measure to tackle smuggling along the country’s borders, Babagana advocated establishment of petrol retail outlets on the entry and exit points across the country.

In his comments on the issue, Bashir Abdulkareem, an economist, urged total reform of the oil sector to end petroleum subsidy regime to encourage competition and enhance availability of the products.

Abdulkareem was quoted to have said: “Petrol smuggling thrives when there is scarcity of the product.

“The border posts in Borno are closed and manned by the military but still smuggling continue unabated.”

Practical measures are imperative to end smuggling and protect the nation’s economy, he added.

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