The Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has warned the nine filling stations recently permitted to resume fuel distribution in border communities in Badagry against sharp practices.
The Acting Customs Area Controller, Chedi Wada, gave the warning, yesterday at a meeting with the nine petrol marketers and some security agencies under the Seme border drill operation.
According to the acting controller, the nine marketers should count themselves lucky that they were selected to resume selling petroleum out of 168 filling stations in Seme, Gbaji, Apa, Kweme and Owode border areas.
“As you are aware, the Federal Government suspended fuel supply from 20 kilometers to the border communities on November 7, 2019 because filling stations in Badagry were being used to commit all forms of illegalities.
“Count yourself lucky that out of 168 filling stations in Badagry communities, you are selected to be among the nine permitted to resume sales of petroleum products.
“I am using this opportunity to appeal to you to do the needful by doing what is right.
“If your filling station is found wanting or engaging in any form of illegality ranging from selling in jerry can to siphoning fuel inside jerry can in your backyard, you will be sanctioned.
“If you are caught, we will not only seal your filling station; we will also revoke your license, and your stations destroyed so that it will not exist again.
“We have eyes everywhere as you may be aware by now.
“If the police does not catch up with you, Army, Customs or Immigration will catch up with you, or some other intelligence will definitely catch up with you,’’ Wada said.
According to the customs boss, if kerosene or diesel are to be sold into jerry can, it should not exceed 10litres, while only a maximum of five litres of petrol should be sold into jerry cans.
The acting area controller said that any bank or industry that needed to buy more than the approved litres should always contact his office for approval.
He warned that selling and buying of petroleum products in all filling stations along the border communities should not exceed 6p.m, adding that any station found selling after 6p.m. would be sealed.
Responding on behalf of the nine filling stations, Managing Director, Luri Oil and Gas in Owode, Mr Samuel Sedangaji promised that they would abide by the laid-down rules and regulations.
Sedangaji thanked the Federal Government for allowing the filling stations within the border communities to start selling fuel again a few months after they were suspended.
He said that this showed that the government had responded to the plight of people residing in border communities.
More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining
As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth.
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.
Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project -Akawor
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them.
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.
PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations
Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations.
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.
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