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Foreign vessels smuggle N80bn of petroleum products daily into Nigeria — NISA boss



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THE Chairman of Nigeria Ship-owners Association, Capt Niyi Labinjo (Rtd) has accused foreign vessels of committing economic crimes against Nigeria by smuggling petroleum products into the country.
Labinjo who disclosed this recently said petroleum products worth over N80bn are being smuggled daily through neigbouring countries by these foreign vessels. According to him, these foreign vessels informed their countries that they are headed for Nigeria, only for them to stop on the high seas where these products are discharged into smaller vessels and moved into the country.
He noted that 68 per cent of these products get into the country unaccounted for, and this costs the nation huge revenue losses in terms of capital flight, since the transaction is done in cash.
He pointed out that this is done through the off-shore Lome and off-shore-Benin. Giving a breakdown of the loss, Labinjo pointed out that a 5,000 ton vessel laden with Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, costs N600 million.
He said half of the 1.8 million litres comes to down to 900,000 and if divided by 5,000 equal 108 (5,000). Should this be multiplied by N600 million, it comes down to N108 billion and a large chunk of this amount is lost daily through smuggling of the product, he said.
He advised that the smuggling of petroleum products through the off-shore Lome and off-shore-Benin must be stopped because of the effect on the nation’s economy.
He said that Nigeria presently has no control over about 200 vessels involved in this illegal trade outside the nation’s territorial waterways and that alone poses a security risk to the nation, especially with the security situation in the country presently.
The retired Navy officer, stressed that government must as a matter of urgency stop the smuggling of petroleum products into the country, as well as ensure that the Cabotage Law is enforced fully.

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