Borders Closure Elicits Divergent Views Among Nigerians - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Friday, November 22, 2019

Borders Closure Elicits Divergent Views Among Nigerians

•L- R, Akeem Olanremehin, Dapo Oke, Abimbola Oyeyemi, Kazeem Olowe, Abdullahi Maiwada, Yinka Ogundimu(Consultant to Governor Dapo Abiodun on electronics media), Dr. Sola Adeosun, one other and SF Ojo(Aide of Governor Dapo Abiodun) in a group photograph after the lecture

Opinions diverged yesterday among Nigerians over the closure of the country’s borders, with some arguing that the closure was in the best interest of Nigeria while others dismissed it as an "anti - people" policy.
 
In a public lecture in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, titled "border closure: the gains and pains," two of the four discussants - Abdullahi Maiwada, spokesman of the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and veteran journalist, Eddie Aina, defended the government for taking the decision.

Ogun state is home to the officially recognised seven border - points with Republic of Benin, although, over 33 other illegal border - points exist and are believed to have been created illegally by smugglers for nefarious and smuggling activities.

Maiwada and Aina agreed that Nigeria “cannot continue to be a big  brother of Africa while we continue to suffer.” 

Maiwada insisted that the decision was in order as it had immensely benefitted the country in terms of revenue generation, among others, saying no country can eradicate smuggling completely.

Eddy Aina insisted that, the border should have been closed much earlier for the benefit of the country and cited India as an example of a country who took a firm decision to ban importation of textiles at a certain period, arguing that the country now is the largest exporter of textiles in the world.

The public lecture was organised by the Consolidated Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ogun State Chapter to mark this year’s World Television Day.
 
 Dapo Oke of the Tai Solarin University of Education(TASUED) Ijagun and Sunday Olaposi Oginni, Secretary of the State Chapter of the Labour Party (LP) viewed the border closure as one that not only portrayed border community dwellers as smugglers, but also left them neglected by successive Nigerian government.

Oginni was of the view that the policy was not well thought through before it was foisted on Nigerians by the government.

The LP Scribe in the state declared that “it is an anti-people policy which has increased the suffering of the masses.”

Accordig to him, the “suffering” the closure had brought to the ordinary Nigerian has wiped out any benefit the country  has derived from it."

Oginni stated further: “The closure is anti- people, it ought to have been discussed extensively with the people before the final decision is taken.

 “It (border closure) is anti- people , that is why the government did not implement it before the general elections. The policy is bad, our (Nigeria) problem is bad leadership, bad policies and bad implementation.

Also, Oke; a border community leader, discribed the rampant smuggling in the border areas to the government’s neglect of the border communities.

He cited mass unemployment in the border communities as another factor that instigate smuggling in the area.

Earlier in his speech, the Chairman; Consolidated Chapel, Akeem Olowe, said the chapel deemed it necessary to inform, educate  and enlighten Nigerians on the issues of the borders closure, hence  the gathering of all stakeholders to share their views on the subject.

He said: “As journalists, we see it as our responsibility to bring people with different opinions to come together to discuss the matter and possibly suggest solution for the Federal government on how to handle the situation at hand.

“We are also contributing our quota to the development of the nation.”

From Gafar Babalola, Abeokuta

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