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Review ban on fuel supply to border towns, Reps urge Customs

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Immigration advocates new technology for border management
The House of Representatives has enjoined the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to review its ban on the supply of petroleum products to border communities in the country.

Adopting a motion sponsored by Sada Soli under matters of urgent importance at the plenary presided by the deputy speaker, Ahmed Wase, yesterday, the house declared that the measure contravened the provisions of the Customs and Exercise Act.

It mandated its relevant committees to engage the Minister of Interior, Minister of State for Petroleum, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to review the policy and report back within two weeks for further legislative action.

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Soli (Katsina, APC) claimed that the directive had increased the suffering of Nigerians living in the border towns.

That no alternative provision has been made to cater for the needs of the border communities, knowing fully how dependent the economy is on petroleum products, he said, beats his imagination.

He expressed concern that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), whose statutory duty it is to close petrol stations and regulate supply, is yet to make any clarification on the issue.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, had on November 6, 2019, issued directed that no petroleum product should be discharged in any filling station within 20 kilometres to the border.

But the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) says the application of Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) will increase the nation’s effectiveness in border management and improve passenger facilitation.

The Comptroller-General, Muhammad Babandede, said this at the inauguration of the new technology at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

MIDAS is a Border Management Information System (BMIS) designed to process and record biographic and biometric details of passengers’ movement.

The CG said that all the data collated by MIDAS, which allows for information sharing with critical stakeholders locally and internationally, was the exclusive property of the implementing nation.

“NIS has taken full ownership of this project under the close guidance of International Organisation for Migration (IOM). We are a very good example of a working partnership with an international organisation like IOM.

“It is important to note that most high profile criminals travel by air. With the recent completed deployment of MIDAS in three international airports, we are ready to tackle trans-national organised crime,” he said.

MIDAS has been installed in Sokoto, Kebbi and Katsina states (with three land borders each), Cross River (one land border and two seaports) and Jigawa (two land borders).

Others are Akwa Ibom (one seaport), Ogun (one land border), Abuja, Lagos and Kano (one international airport each).


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