Boarders set to remain closed until agreement is reached between Nigeria and it’s neighbours
Hameed Ali, the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), says Nigeria’s borders will remain closed until the country and its neighbours agree on existing ECOWAS protocol on movement.
Mr Ali stated this on Wednesday at Maigatari/Niger border, Maigatari Local Government Area of Jigawa while fielding questions from journalists.
“But there is no specific time for opening the borders. However, if they agree with us tomorrow on the existing laws, then we sign and update the existing protocol of transit, that’s all.
“And we are looking forward to meeting with them and there are moves to sit with them to make them understand why we are doing what we are doing and what we want to achieve by doing what we are doing,” Mr Ali said.
When asked about the consequences of closing the borders, he said “if you check our website, you will see the seizures and interception we’ve made”.
He said that by closing the borders, Nigeria was able to completely block the importation of contraband.
When asked about petty traders who are unable to bring goods to the neighbouring countries, Mr Ali said “There must be collateral damage in this kind of situation. Somebody must miss one or two things.”
He said the number of petty traders affected was insignificant compared to gains recorded through the operation.
Mr Ali said Nigeria’s neighbours had no reason allowing cars, cooking oil and other contraband items to pass through their borders into Nigeria.
“For instance, Niger has no reason to allow rice, cooking oil and other illicit goods to pass through its borders to come to Nigeria.
“So, if it is their national interest to collect revenue it is our national interest to close our borders until we sit down and discuss,” Mr Ali said.
Arguably the most affected is Seme border, which borders Lagos with Benin Republic and through which a large volume of imported materials, legal and illegal, arrive Nigeria.
Some of the items imported through the border include cars, foodstuff and electronics.