Border Closure: “Mr. President, … We are in debt”

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Border Closure: “Mr. President, … We are in debt”

Abiodun OBA      |       

A group of businessmen, on Monday at Seme border protested the closure of the nation’s borders by the Federal Government, saying it had impacted negatively on their business.

The protesters under the aegis of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents and Coconut/ Fish Farmers Union, carried placards with different inscriptions appealing and narrating their economic plights to the President through the Federal Government delegation to the area.

The inscriptions include among others: “Nigeria is a signatory to ECOWAS trade liberation. Why closing the border for importing legitimate goods?”; “Mr. President, we borrowed money from banks, our goods are perishing. We are in debt”; “Mr. President, our duty-paid coconuts from Ghana are trapped and destroyed. Locally produced ones not allowed into our market”, and “The land borders are places of livelihoods. Closing it amounts to creating unemployment and killing people’s businesses.”

Members of the group claimed it was wrong of government agencies to seize coconuts and fishes harvested in Nigeria which had been paid for before the border closure with the notion that they were not got from Nigeria.

The Chairman of ANLCA Tax Force, Samuel Igbowu, told journalists that they had lost an estimate of over N5 billion since the closure of the border.

He said, “We are here to show our displeasure over what is happening, if you look back, you will see a lot of trucks parked; they are carrying imported goods and those goods have been paid for, duties have been paid. We have lost an estimate of over N5billion since the closure of the borders.

“They have been trapped here for over three months now, they did not allow them to go in. Most of us got loans from the bank to import and up till now, the goods are not allowed to go in, we cannot sell and we cannot return the money we borrowed.

“A single truck here paid over N4 million as customs duty and we have over 900 trucks.

We are pleading to the government to please allow those that have paid duty to go in and deliver to our warehouses. We are losing money day in day out. Bank loan was there and interest is accumulating on a daily basis.”

“So, we are here to show our displeasure and plead with the government to allow those that have already paid duty on to go in. We have paid the normal customs duty and we have all the documents processed,” he lamented.

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