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Monarch calls on Federal Government to develop border communities

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.

Oba Olugbenle stated this while hosting
the Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Eporwei Edike, who went to seek
peaceful co-existence of the communities and their operatives.

 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.

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