Smugglers of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, are stealing about 10 million litres of the commodity daily and selling it to neighbouring countries, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has declared on Tuesday.
NNPC also stated that the smuggling of the product was costing Nigeria’s economy about N2bn daily, as it urged the Nigerian Union of Journalists to help in the fight against the activities of smugglers.
The corporation’s Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, disclosed this at NNPC headquarters in Abuja while playing host to a delegation from NUJ led by the union’s President, Chris Isiguzo.
Baru said, “We’ve continued to sustain our fuel supply. We expected some crisis and prepared for them at the end of last year. We also expected crisis during the election, we prepared for them and we thank God that our plans worked real good.
“But on your (NUJ) side, we will also need assistance. This is because we are aware that there is a lot of leakage through the smuggling of products. We’ve seen their (smugglers’) activities at all the borders; we have seen what is happening, from moving with big trucks to people carrying products in jerrycans.”
He added, “You may underestimate this by saying that what is there in a jerrycan of 50 litres? But how many 50 litres are there in a truck of 30,000 litres? They are few. So when you see the chain of motorcycles that gang up and go with five, 10 jerrycans of 50 litres each, you will be surprised how quickly they drain trucks and go across the borders.”
The NNPC boss explained that the smuggling of petrol from Nigeria to neighbouring countries was because the product was cheaper in Nigeria than in many other West African nations.
He said, “This is because of the level of arbitrage in price. For instance, in The Niger Republic, you are able to sell a litre of petrol for N427, while we (Nigeria) are selling at N145/litre, and if is taken from the dealer, it is N133.28/litre. So, the arbitrage is huge.”