Petroleum Marketers Seek Arrest Of  Customs Boss Over Auction Of 24 Petrol-Laden Tankers

CUSTOM BOSS HAMEED ALI

LAGOS FEBRUARY 15TH (NEWSRANGERS)-Petroleum marketers have called for the arrest of the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), for flouting a judgement of the Federal High Court (FHC), Abeokuta, Ogun State, over arrest and auctioning of 24 petrol-laden tanker trucks as scraps.

LEADERSHIP reports that Justice Shittu Abubakar of the FHC Abeokuta, had on August 9, 2022, ordered the Service to return 24 tanker trucks illegally impounded from the Petroleum Marketers back to the owners with their content.

But, rather than obey the judgement and return the trucks to the owners, the Service auctioned the trucks with all their content.

Speaking on behalf of the Petroleum Marketers at their secretariat in Idiroko, Ogun State, on Tuesday, the Legal representative of the Idiroko-Ipokia Area Petroleum Dealers & Marketers

According to him, the marketers were demanding the enforcement of the judgement delivered by Justice Shittu Abubakar, and arrest of the Customs CG for flouting the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction.

He stated further that the Service sold the impounded petrol-laden trucks even after the court had delivered its judgement.

He said, “Sometimes in 2019, that was around 9th of November, petroleum dealers and marketers woke up to the news that the Nigeria Customs Service has issued a circular suspending the supply of petroleum products from within 20 kilometers to the border. However, most of this petroleum marketers already had petroleum products that had been booked days before the day of the Customs circular, in their various petroleum stations. Some of these marketers already had petroleum products in their various tankers right inside their filling stations, about to be discharged into their underground storage facilities in the filling stations.

“So due to this confusing situation, the Customs Area Controller of Idiroko Customs Command as at that time, Controller Micheal Agbara, called petroleum marketers to a meeting, where he gave them a four-day grace period to dispose off all the petroleum products in their various filling stations before enforcement of that circular will begin.

“However, two days after that circular, officials of the Nigeria Customs Service from Ikeja, backed by military men, raided all the filling stations in Idiroko in the dead of the night, towing away fully laden petroleum tankers to the Military baracks in Owode. The total number of fully laden petroleum tankers moved away to the Military barracks in Owode was 19 while another five fully laden petroleum tankers were towed to the Customs formation here in Idiroko.

“The Customs officials led by one ACG Amajan started looking for buyers for the petroleum products. It was after the petroleum marketers discovered that the Customs were about selling off the petroleum products and auctioning off the trucks that they contacted me and a case was instituted in court.

“An application for injunction, stopping Customs from tampering with the petroleum tankers and their content was then filed in court, and the Judge granted an interlocutory injunction, that was in July 2020. While the case was still in Court, the trucks detained inside the Military baracks in Owode were moved to Ikorodu were they were auctioned.

“The Judge presiding over the case has given a judgement that all the 24 petroleum tankers should be returned to the owners. The Judge also granted the marketers a N20m damages against Customs and N2m as cost of prosecuting the case. This judgement was delivered on the 9th of August, 2022. However, despite the Court judgement, the Customs did not appeal within 90 days and has not complied with the order of Court. We have filed form 48 notifying the CG of Customs of the Court judgement and will be filing form 49 on the NCS very soon.”

Also speaking, the leader of the Petroleum marketers whose tankers were impounded and auctioned, Lukmon Jamiu, said when the Service issued a circular stopping tankers from discharging petroleum products 20km to the border points, the former Customs Area Controllers (CAC), Idiroko command, Michael Agbara, gave marketers four days to comply with the directive.

Jamiu, the managing director of Mayuf Oil and Gas, however, said following days after the Customs CAC gave the order, the Operation border drill, invaded their various filling stations and impounded already parked trucks.

“When they came, they destroyed everywhere, they forcefully removed the lock and towed away the trucks from our filing stations. We were still given four days to sell off our stock by the Idiroko command and the following day they came to take away our products.”

“Each of the truck is valued at N50million and the products inside them worth N15million. Our businesses have been crippled, we need the enforcement of this judgement so that we can have our lives and businesses back,” he said.

Also speaking, the managing director, Amlad Petroleum, Abdul-lateef Hameed, said his truck was impounded at a filling station at Owode, Ogun State after it developed fault and was being repaired.

According to him, the filling station which his tanker was impounded was outside the 20km radius stipulated in the circular by the Customs Service.

“My tanker was arrested outside the 20km radius of the Customs CG’s directive. They auctioned the 45,000 litres in the truck off and towed the truck to Idiroko command,” he said.

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Posted by on Feb 15 2023. Filed under Business, National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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