Reps reject suspension of PMS supply to border communities
⦁ Says ban by Customs illegal, unconstitutional, acceptable
The House of Representatives on Tuesday opposed the directive by the Nigerian Customs Service, suspending the supply of petroleum products to filling stations within 20 kilometres to the nation’s borders.
This followed the adoption of a motion calling for the suspension of the directive brought to the Plenary Session by Hon. Sada Soli representing Jibia, a community with borders with Niger and Chad Republics.
In the motion, the lawmaker “urged the Nigeria Customs Service to review its ban on the supply of petroleum products to border communities as it contravenes the provisions of the Customs and Exercise Act as amended”.
He also urged the House to “Mandate the Committees on Interior, Customs and Excise and Petroleum Resources (Downstream), to engage the Minister of Interior, the Minister of State for Petroleum, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service and GMD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC).
The House said it was liaising with the heads of relevant agencies, with a view to reviewing the situation and ameliorating the suffering of Nigerians living in the border towns and report back within 2 weeks”.
The House argued that the “directive is tantamount to the Nigerian Customs Service exercising powers that violate the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act, as amended”.
The House worried that the “directive will no doubt, increase the suffering of Nigerians living in the border areas who are already feeling the impact of the border closure more than the rest of the country”.
The House said it was further concerned that no alternative provision has been made to cater to the needs of the border communities, knowing fully how dependent the Nigerian economy is on petroleum products.
The prayers and entire arguments in the motion were adopted by the House.
The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service had issued a directive on the 6th of November 2019, directing that no petroleum product should be discharged in any filing station within 20 kilometres to the borders.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), an agency of government charged with the licensing of filling stations and regulation, a few days ago, also adopted the directive.
Speaking with newsmen after the plenary, the member representing Egbado South/ Ipokia Federal Constituency of Ogun State, Hon Kolawole Lawal, described the action of the Customs as illegal, unconstitutional and unacceptable under the current democratic arrangement
Hon Lawal stated the Customs took the unilateral decision without due consultation with the stakeholders including the over 60 members of the House Representatives from the border communities