The Muhammed Buhari administration, since August, has directed that Nigeria’s borders with Benin and Niger Republics, be closed to prevent smuggling activities.
The closure is being enforced through an exercise led by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), in collaboration with the Armed Forces, as well as the Police and other security and intelligence agencies.
The closure, which has been justified, citing reasons such as, the smuggling of rice and other commodities, including light weapons, arms and ammunition, into Nigeria, have had far reaching consequences on traders who rely on import and export into that country.
On May 30, 2019, The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched.
AfCFTA, is expected to be one of the world’s largest single markets, accounting for $4 trillion in spending and investment across the 54 countries.
With the free trade policy, yet to become fully operational, it is expected that there would be free movements of goods and services across the continent.
Nigeria, which is the most populous nation in Africa, has cast the first stone, setting the stage for what is to come in the future.
The border closure was supposed to be temporal, but it has been more than two months and still counting.
This newspaper is not oblivious of the activities of criminals, who have over the years taken advantage of our porous borders, they enter into our countries to create havoc and go out at will.
From this perspective, the closure is necessary, so as to put in place proper procedure for the movement of people across borders, but for how long, two months is too long a period.
This newspaper calls on president Akufo-Addo, to call his counterpart in Nigeria, Muhammed Buhari, and reason with him to order for the border to be open.
The challenges traders are facing due to the closure of the border, far outweigh the benefits.
Corruption has and will continue to be the bane of Nigeria, personnel manning the borders, who are found culpable of aiding the smugglers, should be sanction to serve as deterrent to others, instead of this border closure, which is affecting the movement of goods and people.