|Oba Kehinde Olugbenle and the ACG, Eporwei Edike in Ilaro|
Oba Kehinde Gbadewole Olugbenle, the Ashade Agunloye 4 of Yewa Land and the Paramount Ruler of Ilaro, has called on the Federal Government to develop border communities.
The Oba said that the border communities where government earns revenue from had been neglected for too long, and left without infrastructural development.
“The border areas need development; there is no evidence of development here. Look at the roads, the schools, the health centres.
“The National Border Area Development Commission should take care of the border areas, which also contribute to government revenue.”
The paramount ruler said that since revenue from customs was next to oil earnings for the country, it could also do well to impact the communities through corporate social responsibility programmes, to bridge the gap in host communities.
Oba Olugbenle also requested that indigenes of the communities be employed in the customs service, to give them a sense of belonging as Nigerians, and not as a place for government revenue collection.
Speaking on the issue of clashes between the communities and customs operatives, the Oba said the customs service should do more in information dissemination.
He said knowledge of goods that fall within the contraband list would check the spate of smuggling.
He however said that the customs should adopt strategies that can drive home the message as a number of those who trade in goods across the border may not be educated enough to read such campaigns in the newspapers.
“How many of these community boys can read and write? It is therefore difficult for them to know what goods are on the customs prohibition list.
“In essence, you will have to educate and inform them if they lack understanding.
“When there is a new development the customs should take it upon themselves to educate the people. Information is very vital in any environment, and when the people hear directly from you, it will go a long way to educate them,” he said.
He urged the customs service to regularly train its officers and men, to direct them on more civil ways of dealing with issues in the communities rather than shooting at the slightest offence.
The Oba also used the opportunity to call for a review of the policy on rice importation, since the food item is a staple eaten by majority of the people.