The Acting Coordinator of Border Drill Operation, Sector 3, Compt. Garba Mohammed, has hinted that the Federal Government would review the policy on the closure of filling stations in border communities.
Mohammed disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Ilorin.
Sector 3 of border drill operation covers four North Central states of Benue, Kogi, Kwara and Niger.
He explained that government had directed that no fuel should be supplied beyond 20km radius to the border communities, saying the directive became necessary because of the atrocities been committed at the border areas.
“People who engage in illegality are those that made government to make these decisions, but the government, been an umbrella for all, is now considering the behaviour of the border communities,” he said.
The acting coordinator said that DPR, a government agency that has the responsibility of granting licenses, would be the one to determine which filling station to reopen or completely close down.
He said that the proliferation of filling stations in border communities and people engaging in illegalities had influenced the decision of stopping fuel supply to the affected border communities.
“The committee of border drill discovered that the number of population in those affected areas, compared to the number of available filling stations is alarming, but the agencies that grants license are now having another consideration,” he said.
Mohammed said that the organisations that grants license had taken a tour round the border communities, with a view to make a decision in terms of who would be granted license and on what basis.
“This is because government have realised that there is a problem somewhere.
“I belief that the controller had taken the tour with a view to partner together with the security agencies or the border drill to find a lasting solution,” he said.
The acting coordinator said that there would be a way that petrol will be dispensed to such communities, but only to genuine traders and users, not for illegal exportation.
“The border closure took a long time before it became effective, but I am optimistic that government will consider the policy, with a view to assist innocent members of the affected communities,” he said.
Mohammed said that during their visit to Ilesha, Baruba, Kosubosu and Chikanda areas, after sensitising the people, they also exchanged some ideas with stakeholders and community leaders.
“We advised that those with genuine businesses should consult the local government and traditional institutions.
“They should also register, after which they should write to the government about their problems, but they must first be cleared by the local government councils, which is a constituted authority.
“A traditional ruler is also known by the government, and when they satisfy all these procedures, then they should forward their request to the government,” he said.
The acting coordinator on border drill said the aim of government was to protect and improve the economy and integrate individuals for the development of the nation.
NAN recalls that the national task force on border drill was inaugurated in August 2019 to checkmate illegal activities, including security challenges, around Nigerian borders. (NAN)