Petrol smuggling persists along Nigeria-Benin border

IN spite of the removal of petrol subsidy by the Nigerian Government, smuggling of the product into neighbouring Benin Republic persists because of price differential, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

NAN investigation at the border towns of Owode and Kpogidi in the Seme-Badagry area of Lagos State on Sunday, showed that though the removal of the subsidy has increased, the price per litre in Nigeria to about N140, the same litre was N250, officially, in Benin Republic.

Though the black market price of a litre of smuggled Nigeria petrol in Benin Republic has been increased to N200, it was still cheaper than buying from filling stations there at N250.

NAN also gathered that until the January 1 deregulation, which raised the pump price of petrol from N65 to about N140, smuggled Nigeria petrol was sold at N100 per litre in Benin Republic, while it was N200 a litre at the filling stations in the Francophone country.

Mr. Hunsu Padonu, a fuel hawker at Kpogidi— a Beninoise border town near Owode-Apa, Badagry— told NAN that smuggling of petrol occurred mostly at night, and has remained profitable because it was still costlier in Benin Republic.

“Nothing has changed since the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government.

“The only thing is that there is a marginal loss in profit making here. But the business is still thriving here as usual,” Padonu said.

NAN reports that petrol is usually sold in bottles at Kpogidi and most Beninoise towns bothering Nigeria.

Another source at Kpogidi said that the smugglers now buy petrol at N160 per litre in Nigeria and sell to the middlemen in the town at N170 per litre.

The middlemen, in turn, dispense to motorists at N200 per litre.

Further investigation revealed that residents of Kpogidi hardly patronised the filling stations that sold at the official pump price of N250 per litre.

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Source: News Agency of Nigeria 

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