Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has alleged that the smuggling of Nigeria’s subsidized petrol to neighbouring countries has an official backing.
Falana who made the claim in an interview with TheCable on Wednesday August 18, recalled how he pleaded with government for NNPC to build mega stations in neighbouring countries like Cameroon, Togo, Benin and Ghana.
The human rights activist also alleged that these smugglers are accompanied by criminally minded security people.
“Sometimes these smugglers are accompanied by criminally minded security people. And now to stop this nefarious crime, I have pleaded with the government; let NNPC build mega stations in the neighbouring countries, Cameroon, Togo, Benin up to Ghana.
“Once you do that, Nigeria will supply directly. I mean, if I take off in Lagos here going to Cotonou and you’re going to Ibadan, I’ll get to Cotonou before you. What is the problem? But because the business of smuggling is officially carried out.
“Last year, DPR said that our consumption rate is 38.2 million litres per day. A few months later, NNPC claimed that the figure had jumped to 102 million litres.
“The entire fuel consumed in the entire West African region is not up to that figure, it’s not up to 100 million litres. That is, from Dakar, Senegal to Nigeria.”
On comptroller-general of customs, Hameed Ali’s appeal for Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to set up filling stations in neighbouring countries to curb smuggling, Falana said Ali “has been on the neck of the NNPC” about the smuggling of petrol, “so he spoke out two days ago out of frustration”.
According to him, NNPC could use the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) building-up model to set up mega stations in neighbouring countries.