Border Closure: NSC Advocates Review Of ECOWAS Protocols

By Sandra Chukwunyere

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council  , Barrister Hassan  Bello has advocated for a of the Economic Community of West Africa State(ECOWAS) protocols on behalf of the council.
Bello made the plea on Friday in Lagos during a stakeholders meeting to proffer solution on the way forward regarding the border closure.
NSC boss, said:“Remember that the Federal Government just signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
“We have to review this protocol because Nigeria seems to be a victim rather than beneficiaries.
“The economy in Nigeria is defeated. We have the poorest economy in Africa and so there are certain things we just allow to happen 
He reiterated that the council is in support of the steps taken by the Federal Government even as he beckoned on the stakeholders to do the same.
“It is our duty to support what Customs is doing and it is also our duty to proffer solutions. Our concerns are in the aspect of trading because the Nigerian Shippers Council is a trade facilitator just like the customs.
“So we have been involved in the management of the corridor, the Lagos-Abidjan corridor. We have a presence at the Seme border, so we know all the issues going on. We know how we have been taken advantage of and we are in support of what is going on,” the NSC Boss added.
While explaining further, Bello said that the partial closure of land borders has become a Federal Government policy even as he added that it is not a permanent thing. He said that for a long time now, Nigeria has been turned into a dust bin by her neighbours due to many sub-regional protocols.
“For a long time, Nigeria has been taking things lightly because we are often called ‘big brother’, while at the same time, turned into a dustbin where everything is dumped.
“The reality affecting us now is that the source of revenue which is oil is no longer sustainable and it has also been discovered that there is a need for serious diversification.
“We are more concerned about what is happening at the ports after the partial closure of the land borders. The idea is for us to come and brainstorm on what is happening at the ports and make suggestions on how best to go about them,” the NSC Boss stated.
He admitted that the closure has caused some pain, even as he advised that there is no gain without pain.
“You will agree with me that this has caused some pains, but the pain is also necessary because there is no gain without pain. It has been said that some famers are smiling to the bank while others are saying that some goods are trapped at the borders.
 Also speaking, Chairman, Port Consultative Council (PCC), Otunba Kunle Folarin queried why the border countries should cry more than the bereaved.
He therefore addicted their cry to the fact that they have undue advantage over the country by importing quantity of rice too much for the country for onward passage to Nigeria. “Why are the border countries crying about our border closure? We closed our border, we didn’t they close their borders why should you cry more than the bereaved.
Meanwhile Alhaji Nasiru Salami, West Africa Road Transport Union (WARTU) Public Relations Officer blamed the government for not being proactive in the first instance that led to dumping of goods into the country.
Salami pointed out that the country does not have security agents in the neighbouring countries that will monitor the inflow of goods or give data of how goods move across the borders
He therefore advised Federal Government to deploy enough security personnel in the land border to help monitor inflow and outflow of goods and services in the countryReplyForward

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