‘Engagements, consultations ongoing on reopening of borders’

By Nudoiba Ojen

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr Adewale Adeniyi, has said that engagements and consultations are ongoing on the reopening of borders.

Adeniyi, who said that only President Bola Tinubu has the prerogative to reopen borders in the country, said that a decision would be made on conclusion of the engagements and consultations.

The Customs CG spoke at an interaction session with members of the Kongolam border community in Mai’adua Local Government Area of Katsina State in reaction to agitation for the reopening of the borders.

He assured, “Once consultations are concluded, a decision will be taken on the matter”.

Adeniyi said that the Service would focus on removing obstacles militating against free trade in line with the present administration’s agenda of fostering economic prosperity.

He said that proactive measures had been employed to reduce the number of checkpoints along the border posts and promote synergy between the service personnel and traders.

“We are conscious of the concerns of the border communities, particularly with regard to the number of checkpoints and the closure of land borders. I assure you that our operations are always guided by law and we only operate on delegated powers.

“We have communicated the concerns and complaints by residents of the border communities to the President. Because he has listening ears, and he directed that we should release confiscated food items, on the condition that it only be sold in Nigerian markets”.

The CG said that the Service was collaborating with the Police and other sister agencies to address obstacles militating against free trade in the border areas.

He said “We know that there are markets around our borders, and we know that not all of them are targeted at taking goods across the borders.

“We will continue to monitor and ensure that food that is produced in Nigeria remains and is consumed in Nigeria. This is because we are in a period of national emergency that has to do with food insufficiency.

“And that is why we must collectively work together to assist the government to enforce the various laws prohibiting exportation of food items at this time,” he said.

He said the Export Prohibition Act banned the exportation of maize, rice, beans, yam, millet, and sorghum.

While commending the synergy between the Service and other security agencies, Adeniyi thanked other stakeholders for their support.

Adeniyi also visited former President Muhammad Buhari and the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Faruq-Umar.

Over a week after the resolution of the Economic Community of West African States for all land borders between its member countries and the Niger Republic to be open, residents of the Illela Local Government Area of Sokoto State, last week appealed to the Federal Government for immediate action and its opening.

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