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DSS To Track Cross-border Fuel Smuggling, As 270 Filling Stations Shut Down

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The Federal Government shut down over 270 filling stations amid scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and a hike in pump prices across several retailers.

According to the government on Thursday, the petrol stations shut down were clamped down on for inflating fuel prices, hoarding petrol, and other infractions. 

Also, in an effort to prevent the continuous diversion of fuel, the government has also deployed operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) on fuel tankers to track their movement.

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited suspect oil marketers are diverting fuel, resulting in scarcity at filling stations across the country.

Addressing the authorities’ intervention in the current scarcity, NNPC Limited’s Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, said: “So much is going on, there are government security interventions. 

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“I know the kind of work that we do with the security agencies, for instance, in Abuja alone, we have over 120 DSS officers following every truck to fuel stations and we are activating this across the country. 

“We are ensuring that we get other government security agencies to follow these trucks to their locations, in order to be very sure that these trucks actually get to the fuel stations and there are not sold on the way and they don’t cross the borders.” 

Meanwhile, Kyari had previously hinted at a stakeholder event that cross-border smuggling of fuel is one of the factors causing petrol scarcity at retailers.  

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“There’s no dispute about this that our fuel gets to other countries, including in marine containers. We have evidence now that some of our customers are actually taking investors to other countries and we will get to the root of this. 

“The appropriate government security agencies will deal with this. But this is the reality that we are dealing with. You do have cross-border smuggling, either in form of round-tripping or whatever name we call it. 

“So the 66 or 67 million litres that you have always seen include all these, the cross-border smuggling volumes. And it means that anytime we don’t satisfy those markets, it will affect your domestic market. This is the reality that we are dealing with,” he stated.

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