Stakeholders condemn extension of border closure till 2020

Stakeholders condemn extension of border closure till 2020

 

Abiola Seun    |          

Clearing agents operating at the nation’s border stations have condemned the extension of the joint border drill by the federal government till January 2020.

In a memo NCS/ENF/ABJ/221/S.45 addressed to all Sector Coordinators of the Joint Border Operation Drill (Exercise Swift Response), Sectors 1,2,3 & 4, the Nigeria Customs Service said a few strategic objectives is yet to be achieved.

The memo which was signed by Comptroller Victor David Dimka, Comptroller (Enforcement), Customs Headquarters on behalf of Deputy Comptroller General (E,I &I) is titled

“Re- Extension of Exercise Swift Response”

The memo dated 1st November 2019 reads ” I am directed to inform you that it is observed that despite the overwhelming success of the Operation particularly, the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved.

“Against this background, Mr President has approved an extension of the Exercise to 31st January 2020.

“Consequently, you are required to convey the development to all personnel for their awareness and guidance.

” Meanwhile, allowances for personnel sustenance and fuelling of vehicles for the period of extension will be paid as soon as possible. This is for your information and necessary action”.

However, speaking to our correspondent, the Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Seme Border chapter, Lasisi Fanu condemned the closure even as he asked for a special platform from the federal government to bring in trapped transit cargoes at the border station.

According to him, majority of the manufacturers have incurred huge debt while perishable items were allowed to rotten

“Crime has increased at the border area. It will get worse and some of the goods that were trapped will deteriorate further. They can keep the border closed perpetually but they should allow us to move goods that were trapped because they are owned by Nigerians who voted for them and their things are being destroyed.

“These people borrowed from banks and if these goods were destroyed, how will they pay back? Banks will sell their collateral to take back their money.

“We are not saying they should open but they should create a platform for what we have on ground to be moved into the country.

“On the economic ground, what we have on ground will continue to deteriorate. But there should have been continuous plan for the people. They should inform Nigerians that they should stop patronising foreign products but what they just did is very dangerous as far as the economy is concerned”.

However, the spokesman of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) who is also the Spokesman for the Ex-Swift Response team, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Joseph Attah, stated that only the deadline for the first phase of the operation has been extended till 31st of January, 2020; that this does not signal the end of the operation.

According to Joseph Attah, “An internal memo was issued to all field officers on the Ex-Swift Response operation, informing them that the first phase has been extended till 31st of January, 2020. This extension only serves for the first phase.

“Before 31st of January, 2020, officers on the field will be notified on developments on the second phase of the border closure exercise, if the need arises,” he disclosed.

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