Nigerian Shippers Council backs border closure, insists neighbouring countries respect ECOWAS Protocol
at the weekend convened a meeting of stakeholders in the maritime industry to
review issues concerning the Federal Government’s action on border closure,
while stating its position of support for the government in the interest of the
exporters, freight forwarders, customs brokers and officials of the Nigeria
Customs Service also expressed their support for the FG’s decision on closure
of the nation’s land borders.
Secretary of the NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello, said the Council was in full support of
the FG’s action, as neighbouring countries had failed in respecting the ECOWAS
Protocol on trade rules and regulations.
protect trade in their countries and that border control was one such way of
doing so, rather than allow people do as they wish to the detriment of the
protocol had become needful as Nigeria alone was keeping to the rules, thus
making her a victim than a beneficiary. He, therefore, called on the
stakeholders’ support for the FG’s action on border closure.
signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA). We have had every
economist pushing the ECOWAS protocol. We have to review this protocol because
Nigeria seems to be a victim rather than beneficiary. There are certain things
we allow to happen and those we should not.
customs is doing and it is also our duty to proffer solution. NSC is a trade
facilitator just like Customs. So we have been involved in the management of
the corridor, the Lagos Abidjan corridor.
so we know all the issues going on, we know how we have been taken advantage on
and we are in support of what is going on now. For long, Nigeria has been
taking things lightly, we are often called a big brother and at the same time
we are turned to a dustbin where everything is dumped,” Bello said.
nation’s ports were now experiencing increased activities as many importers now
use the ports, a development will create more jobs locally and improve revenue
the FG’s action, they said that government should have notified them over a
period of time to enable them evacuate goods that are currently trapped in the
face of the border closure.
the notice ought to have been given to the stakeholders before the closure, to
evacuate items that are currently trapped in the borders.
matters analyst, Otunba Kunle Folarin, supported the closure of the nation’s
borders and faulted the lack of compliance to set rules and regulations from
the neighbouring countries.
one-sided relationship in the regard of compliance with trade within ECOWAS, as
the nation had experienced huge revenue losses due to smuggling activities.
with trade agreements, Managing Director of the Inland Container Nigeria
Limited (ICNL), Mr. Issa Yusuf, supporting the border closure, agreed that it
was time for Nigeria to actually ensure that neighbouring countries complied as
provided in the trade agreements.
given notice within a period before the border closure, to avoid the sufferings
being faced by legitimate business owners in Nigeria.
President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr.
Kayode Farinto, welcomed the closure, saying the action was long over-due.
closure, the ports would experience increased activities, thus creating more
jobs locally and a reduction in smuggling.
government on the need for developing infrastructure at the ports, as he called
attention to the increased charges by truck owners who now charge N500,000 to
deliver a container from Apapa to Ikeja.
government to review the current tariff on imported vehicles which is about 70
percent for new ones.
of Government Approved Freight Forwarding (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam who
also welcomed the closure said the problem has been with poor communication.
convening the meeting to brief stakeholders on the closure said Nigerians ought
to know the truth about the closure.
government to join the NSC in explaining to stakeholders on the benefits of the
closure, Aniebonam bluntly said that whoever does not support the government
the Customs Act gives the Service the power to shut the borders, blaming the
neighbouring countries for breaching ECOWAS protocol that led to the latest
the closure of the border was a kind of indictment on those manning the borders
said it was time for them to wake up to their responsibilities.
be sleeping. We should not reopen our borders until we get our neighbours to
right the wrongs. We need to support government but government also needs to do
what it ought to do”, Aniebonam said.