Nigeria Customs Seizes N115 Million Petrol, Targets Smuggling Operations

Major Operation Confiscates 280,135 Liters of Petrol Nationwide

by Adenike Adeodun

Nigeria’s Customs Service has seized 280,135 liters of petrol valued at N115 million during a seven-day operation. The petrol, stored in gallons, was seized in a nationwide effort led by Comptroller-General Bashir Adeniyi. He announced this achievement at a news conference in Yola, Adamawa.

Operation Whirlwind, a key initiative, seized 105,950 liters of petrol. Additionally, the Federal Operating Units and Marine Commands seized 120,185 liters. Adeniyi emphasized that smuggling is a major threat to Nigeria’s economy and called for cooperation from security agencies and the public to combat this issue.

“Smuggling undermines the economy and exacerbates foreign exchange challenges,” Adeniyi said. “Unchecked, these activities could worsen the economic situation and support criminal activities against the state. Cooperation and collaboration of patriotic agencies are crucial to curbing this menace.”

He stressed that Operation Whirlwind remains vigilant against smugglers targeting petroleum products. The nationwide operation aims to ensure Nigerians benefit from fuel price deregulation, aligned with President Bola Tinubu’s vision.

“Our goal is to defend the national currency and reduce pressures from smuggling activities. We aim to identify, dismantle, and disrupt smuggler cartels. Raising awareness in local communities and soliciting their support is essential to achieving these objectives,” Adeniyi added.

Ogbugo Ukoha, Executive Director of Distribution System, Storage, and Retailing Infrastructure (DSSRI) at the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), praised the personnel involved in the operation. He described cross-border diversion of petrol as economic sabotage and reiterated the commitment to collaborate with security agencies to end smuggling.

“The cross-border diversion of petrol is a significant threat to our economy,” Ukoha stated. “We are committed to working with security agencies to stop this practice and ensure economic stability.”

Adeniyi also highlighted the national security implications of smuggling. “Illicit activities, if not checked, could further deteriorate the country’s security. The influx of unaccounted foreign currency could fund illegitimate activities, including those of non-state actors. This makes it imperative to check, curtail, and dismantle smuggling operations,” he said.

The Customs Service aims to raise public awareness about the negative impacts of smuggling. By engaging local communities and securing their support, the service hopes to make significant strides in curbing illegal activities.

In addition to combating smuggling, the operation seeks to protect the national currency and reduce economic pressures. The comprehensive strategy includes identifying and dismantling smuggling cartels, as well as disrupting their operations.

Nigeria’s Customs Service continues to play a vital role in safeguarding the country’s economy and security. Through sustained efforts and collaboration with other agencies, the service is determined to address the challenges posed by smuggling and ensure the nation’s economic health.

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