The Department of Petroleum Resources has uncovered the conversion of a grazing settlement into a depot for illegal trans-border smuggling of petroleum product in Gella, Mubi South Local Government Area close to the Nigerian- Cameroonian border.
The settlement was discovered to have been encroached upon by kidnappers, bandits and other criminal elements for illegal smuggling of petroleum products into Cameroun.
This was disclosed by the State Controller of DPR, Ibrahim Ciroma as he embarked on sealing off an illegal filling station operating in the state.
Ciroma, who led a team of officials from the DPR and security officials, expressed shock at the discovery of the operation of a petroleum filling station on the settlement.
It was later discovered that a lawmaker in the state house of assembly owned and operated the illegal filling station which Ciroma said was being used for cross-border smuggling of petroleum products between Nigeria and Cameroun.
Officials at the illegal facility took to flight on sighting a detachment of security officials who stormed the settlement.
Ciroma expressed dissatisfaction with the activities of security operatives following the discovery and blamed officials of the Nigerian Customs Service for turning a blind eye to the use of the reserve for smuggling.
He said, “What is the essence of all the checkpoints we met on the road on our way here? So how can we move forward when people are refusing to do their jobs? Should President Buhari come and be at the checkpoints himself to arrest smugglers? “
“From what I see today, President Buhari is alone in his fight against corruption, because nobody can explain why a smuggling depot of petroleum products is being operated in the midst of customs and military checkpoints.”
Ciroma said the clampdown on operators of illegal filling stations in the state would be done without fear or favour, adding that nobody, no matter their political status, would be spared from sanction.
“I have written the police and the Civil Defence officials over illegal filling stations operating in the state and I directed them to demolish them all since they are all illegal structures in the eyes of DPR laws,” he stated.