By Mujidat Oyewole
Ilorin – Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has urged the Joint Border Operation Drill of the Nigeria Customs Service to open few filling stations in Kwara north in order to ease fuel scarcity.
The governor made the call on Wednesday while receiving the Operatives of Joint Border Operation Drill Sector 3, at the Government House, Ilorin.
AbdulRazaq said that Customs directives to close down all filling stations within 20km radius from the border has caused lots of difficulty to the indigenes of Baruten Local Government Area in terms of fuel scarcity.
“I plead with Customs to open three or four filling stations in the areas affected, where people can have access to fuel and ease their difficulty,” the governor appealed.
The governor however commended the efforts of the Joint Border Drill Sector 3, for a good job in ensuring security and stability of the economy, which he said had given the people of the state rest of mind.
The Ag. Coordinator, Joint Border Operation Drill, Sector 3, Mr Garba Mohammed, said that they were aware of the difficulties faced in the border communities and there were plans to tackle the fuel scarcity.
“We have engaged the stakeholders, traders, independent marketers and Union of marketers in the border communities.
“We have visited Kosubosu, Ilesha Baruba, Okuta and Chikanda axis, where we had meetings with their leaders and sensitise them on the border closure by Nigeria,” the acting coordinator said.
Mohammed however said that they have plans for the users of petroleum products, adding that each local government will have designated filling stations.
“Economic sabotage and insecurity have been reduced to the bearest minimum in Nigeria, Kwara state in particular.
“Since the beginning of the Joint Task Force, a lot of success had been achieved; namely 10 million liters of petroleum had been arrested.
“This petroleum product would have been smuggled out of the country without government knowledge, which would have affected planning, and inaccuracy in data and statistics,” he said.
Mohammed also urged the governor to help in sensitising residents of the state to cooperate with government to achieve success in the border closure.
“There was cattle rustling, kidnapping, child trafficking and smuggling before the border closure, and which made the federal government set up the joint task force.
“The setting up of the task force has come with a lot of achievement, as 177 vehicles have also been impounded, while 160 illegal immigrants have successfully been repatriated
“We have equally closed all the loopholes in the border areas, and illegal routes have also been blocked,” he said.
The acting coordinator said that the main objective of the task force is to ensure that the neighboring countries respect the agreement signed between Nigeria and the rest of the West African countries.
“Nigeria signed three agreements; first is with the World Trade Organisation, second with ECOWAS trade and third, African Continental trade,” he said.
Mohammed however noted that it was only when there is an enabling environment that trade would thrive.