Update On Nigeria's Border Closure
By Jude Chukwuemeka
Ibukunoluwa Akinrinde - Member of ECOWAS Nation Investment Scorecard Implementation Committee/ Presidential Committee on AfCFTA Readiness & Implementation Committee.
NigeriaInfo Abuja correspondent Solomon Ndahi via our Info Connect gives update on the plan and activities regarding border closure across the country so far. He reports that he has been on tour with the Federal Government delegation saddled with the “responsibility of assessing the impact of the border drill, which is also known as border closure. The Nigeria-Benin border at Seme has in possession a lot of bags of rice seized. Further, Solomon says the smuggling has reduced and smugglers have been arrested.
At the Nigerian – Niger border, the issue is fuel smuggling at Katsina State. The Nigerian government determined that all fuel stations located at 20 kilometers radius of the border would be closed. Solomon thinks it is a good idea because there are about 70 filling stations in that small area alone. There were situated at both sides of the roads.
Smugglers make use of these fuel stations by keeping the cheap fuel and find a way to sell it later. That is not done legally.
In the news last week, there were reports of a series of attacks on Nigerians and their businesses in Ghana. According to reports, Ghanaians shut about 1,000 shops owned by Nigerians as retaliation for the border closure which began in August.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Olufemi Abikoye In a statement recalled that there has been ongoing tension between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders of recent, with almost 1,000 shops belonging to Nigerian traders being illegally shut down by the GUTA members.
According to him: “The excuse for their action was linked to Nigeria’s temporary closure of its land border and the short-listing of about 45 products from the ECOWAS trade liberalisation scheme, an action which they claimed crippled their trading activities with Nigeria.”
The House of Representatives has mandated the Committees on Diaspora Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and Treaties, Protocols and Agreements to consider and investigate the recent developments among traders in Ghana and ensure that another xenophobic attack on Nigerians is prevented.
President Muhammadu Buhari in a memo signed by Dimka V.D Comptroller (Enforcement) to all Sector commanders of the Nigeria Customs Service, earlier in November, approved the extension of the current border closure with neighbouring countries till January 31st, 2020.
Ibukunoluwa Akinrinde,, who is in the studio with Wemimo and Sheriff, starts the conversation by telling the hosts what the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfcFTA) stands for and what it meant to achieve. He explains that Nigeria is in the AFcTA environment. “We signed but we are not yet ready economically. Ghana doesn’t have electricity issues and SMEs thrive there. Our textile industries died because they couldn’t run where electricity is a problem because if light goes off when the machineries are on, they break down.”
Further, he says “Nigeria is not an attractive investment destination. Wemimo doesn’t seem to believe that, saying that Nigeria is big, probably the biggest in Africa. But Akinrinde points out that Nigeria is a consumer market and not a producer economy. Nigeria is a toast for consuming and not for producing. It’s amazing how businesses thrive in Nigeria.
The show also takes on the issue of rice. The rice produced in Nigeria is low quality but the people of Nigeria needs better grains of rice to be produced locally. This will aid or encourage further local production. However, the reports are showing that Nigerians are already tired of eating locally produced rice which often have stones and chaff inside.
Show hosts Wemimo and Sheriff asks Nigerians if they want the border (Nigerian-Benin) closed, or if they would like it to be opened. Solomon also claimed that the Nigeria-Niger border remained closed.
View the show