Owombo Segun John, an officer of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) who allegedly raised the alarm on how refined petroleum products, especially the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, is being smuggled to Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic and other African countries has been detained.
According to Sahara Reporters, Owombo, a Superintendent of Customs (SC) in a video had narrated how he arrested so many smugglers on Wednesday, November 2, at Malabo Checkpoint on Belel Road, Adamawa state.
He however said senior officials of the NCS called him to release the suspects.
Multiple sources on Friday told SaharaReporters that the officer attached to the Federal Operations Unit Zone D in Adamawa State had been arrested and detained.
“He has been detained by the Comptroller over the video,” a source told SaharaReporters.
Daily, at least 42 million litres of petrol are smuggled out of Nigeria at a resultant cost of about N2 billion, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
In November 2019, the NCS announced a directive that restricted petroleum products from being supplied to fuel stations within 20 kilometres of the borders.
Prior to that, the NNPC had raised the alarm about the increasing number of filling stations in border towns, saying they were funnels for fuel smuggling to neighbouring countries.
With millions of Nigerians grappling with periodic fuel shortages, the porous borders, spanning over 17,000 kilometres, make it possible for the product to be smuggled to these neighbouring countries easily.
According to a recent report by Deutsche Welle (DW), a German public state-owned international broadcaster, smugglers are having a field day selling Nigerian fuel at cheaper rates than the conventional petrol stations in Cameroon.
The Deutsche Welle (DW) reports that although the exact volume of smuggled Nigerian petrol to Cameroon is not known, local media reports in Cameroon put the ‘black market’ illegal trade at $5million (about N1.905 billion) every year.
According to a survey by the German media in Maroua, the capital city of the Far North region of Cameroon, stolen fuel from neighbouring Nigeria is readily available for sale.
Even when Nigerians are faced with shortages, it was learnt that the supply is constant in Cameroon.