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Border closure: Association cautions against selective approach

Nigerian border

By Cecilia Ijuo

Abuja – The President of the Concerned Youth Empowerment Association, Mr Noble Adaelu has cautioned against selective approach in the effort to rid Nigeria’s borders of unscrupulous activities such as smuggling.

Adaelu was reacting to reports that Ghana brought in different commodities to partcipate in the Lagos International Trade Fair.

He said that allowing any country to bring goods into Nigeria under any guise while the borders remained close would open doors for compromises that would weaken the Federal Government’s present stand on the matter.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of
Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Mr Samuel Dentu, had reportedly commended the Nigerian government for allowing their products into the country for the Lagos International Trade Fair.

Adaelu said that proceeding on such premise would weaken government’s determination to set the record straight with regard to illegal importation of goods into the country.

According to him, the development can give room to compromises that would make the essence of the closure to be defeated.

“If Ghana is allowed to bring in her goods to the Trade Fair, it further exposes the insincerity of purpose and corruptible character of some Nigerian government officials handling cross border trade issues.

“The Federal Government should purge itself of these characters and face the reality of purpose because drawing a selective approach over the land border closure is wrong and places Nigeria on a wrong stand.”

Adaelu, however, commended conditions given by the Federal Government to neighbouring countries as prerequisite for reopening the borders, which had been closed since August.

“Repackaging of goods denies the true identify of a product. A responsible producer and exporter recognises the dignity of identity and would not to hide it.

“So, it is a criminal attempt to hide the production details of the product by repackaging it. I therefore subscribe to Federal Government’s conditions on this. If it is not an expired product and below standardisation, why do they repackage.

“Even if the borders are reopened with no professional discipline, repackaged and low standardised goods will still find their way into the country.

“The management of Nigerian Immigration Service and Nigeria Custom Service should go back to the drawing board and define a disciplinary measure for their officers.

“Is it not clear they are living above their income? Where do they make such money from if not from all these unscrupulous importers.”

NAN reports that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama had on Monday, listed conditions neighbouring countries must meet for Nigeria to reopen its borders to trading activities.

One of the conditions is that imports coming from outside the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region into an ECOWAS member state should retain their original packaging with no modification of any sort.

Another condition is that goods coming into Nigeria must be accompanied by the customs from the ports directly to the entry points of the Nigeria border.

Also, all persons coming to Nigeria from land borders must present themselves at recognised entry points and must have recognised travel documents, while all warehouses along the shared borders of Nigeria must be dismantled.

NAN further reports that the Federal Government on Aug. 21, ordered a partial closure of the borders to check illegal activities around Benin, Niger and Chad republics.

The routes around the country where such illegal activities take place are borders in Seme-Lagos, Jibiya-Katsina, Idiroko-Ogun, Illela-Koni-Sokoto, Kabo, Saki, Sikanda-Oyo among others.


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