Border Closure: Petrol Hits N600/litre in Boundary Communities as FG Suspends Supply

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SWITZERLAND, NOVEMBER 12 – Residents of border communities in Ogun, Lagos, Adamawa, Katsina and Sokoto states  are groaning following the Federal Government’s suspension of fuel supply to areas  within 20 kilometres to  the nation’s borders.

On Thursday, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, had directed that no petroleum products should be supplied to  any filling station within 20 kilometres to the borders.

According to Punch, which carried an investigation on the issue in Ogun, Lagos, Adamawa, Katsina, and Sokoto states, the government’s order has triggered fuel scarcity and hike in the prices of petroleum products.

For instance, investigations by one of our correspondents  showed the Federal Government’s order had led to fuel scarcity in communities such as Ihunbo, Ilase, Ajegunle, Idiroko and Agosasa in  the Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Also, at the  Seme border in Lagos  on Monday, there were  fuel queues as only two filling stations were selling fuel.

Investigation reveals that so many filling stations  within  20 kilometres  to the border in Ipokia, close to Benin Republic had been shut by the Federal Government’s task force on border closure.

 One of the residents of Ipokia, Elijah  Akinola, in an interview with The PUNCH,  accused the security agencies in the area  of sabotaging the economy of the country.

He asked,  “Can you imagine buying a litre of fuel at the rate of N600? Before we can get fuel for N145 in Ipokia, we will need to go to Owode, which is 28 kilometres  away. We don’t know what we can do to survive.

“Before the Federal Government’s order, they (security agents) used to take bribes from marketers  before allowing them to export fuel to Benin Republic. Now that the Federal Government has stopped supply of fuel  supply to border communities, we are the ones suffering.   Artisans, even medical personnel, are the ones suffering.

Akinola said in Ipokia that one person died following the inability of a hospital to get fuel to power a generator to perform a surgery on the deceased.

“As I am talking to you, to power   generators  in  hospitals  at  Idiroko is difficult. Ihunbo, Ilase, Ajegunle, Idiroko, Agosasa  and other towns in the  Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State are affected. There was a patient that died this afternoon (Monday) just because  there was no electricity to power  machines  for medical examinations.”

Another resident, Ajibade Idowu, said the task force, which comprised soldiers, immigration officers and other security operatives, commenced the implementation of the policy in the area on Sunday. But he accused some members of the task force of highhandedness.

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