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Customs Boss reveals how NNPC aids Smuggling to other West African Countries

By on January 18, 2012

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is increasingly appearing to be a cesspit of corruption, fraud and malfeasance, mortgaging the welfare and livelihood of virtually every single Nigerian for the benefit of a handful of unscrupulous and unconscientious individuals at the helm of affairs.

Just yesterday, it was revealed by no more an authoritative source than the deputy Comptroller General in charge of Tariff, Mr. Julius Nwankwo that the NNPC regularly flouts laid down laws of the Federation in its responsibility of the importation of petrol.
The  flouting of these rules by the NNPC makes it easy for marketers in cahoots with corrupt government officials to smuggle petrol originally intended for national consumption to other West African nations for profits.

Speaking on Tuedsay, to the ad-hoc House Committee investigating the subsidy saga, Mr. Nwankwo disclosed, “Vessels imported into this country are referred to as mother vessels. These mother vessels never get to the ports in Nigeria. The vessels are normally anchored offshore. If you see the manifest covering these imports, what you will see is ‘offshore Cotonou , offshore Lome ’ They never get to the ports. Rather, you have smaller vessels that pick these products from the mother vessels and they come to the ports to report to the Customs, in line with the provisions of the enabling Act of Customs. These mother vessels do not report to Customs. Customs does not board mother vessels, we can only board vessels that are anchored within our territorial waters. The smaller vessels take these products to the ports.”

It can be deduced by this revelation why the subsidy payments mushroomed out of control, the smuggling noticed in the industry is not done via land routes, it is mostly via ship. It is more difficult to hamper smuggling carried out on international waters.

Nwankwo advised the lawmakers to invite the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to undertake a forensic audit of the smaller vessels and mother vessels bringing in petrol into the country, stating it was the only way to ascertain the amount of petroleum imported into the country.

  • Anonymous

    Really?I assume that the customs boss imply that the FG pays subsidy on the total content of the so-called mother vessels. And at the end of the day just a fraction is being delivered to Nigeria. Does that explain why the customs figures, NNPC’s and maybe NPA’s can never agree? Can the Navy be called upon to throw more light on this? Does that also explain to some of us why petrol that can fill 254 tankers exit our borders on a daily basis without detection? A lot of questions waiting anxiously for answers.

  • Timothy Opara

    This sounds very straight forward then… or am I missing something? Subsidy should then be paid only to importers whose products pass through smaller vessels which customs would have confirmed as they should have touched our territorial waters so to speak. However, NEITI should be involved.