About two months into the partial closure of land borders across the country, Nigerian exporters of food items and beverages have started counting their losses.
They are lamenting loss of several goods that have been packaged and loaded into trucks, ready for exportation to some neighbouring West African countries.
According to them, the goods have been exposed to heavy rainfall and attacks by rodents at the expansive loading facilities, owing to the prolonged border closure.
Our correspondent who visited the ECOWAS loading bay at the Apongbon area on Lagos Island, noticed that more than 85 trucks loaded with beverages and other consumables were stranded at the bay, with some of the goods already destroyed by rodents and rainfall.
While speaking with our correspondent, the Export Manager of the ECOWAS loading bay, Alhaji Ganiu Dosunmu, told our correspondent that more than N10 billion have been lost so far to the Federal Government directive on closure of land borders.
He said since the directive became effective, goods already destined for neighboring countries are now been destroyed by rodents and the continuous downpour in Lagos.
According to him, “we are dying, so many of us have lost millions of naira, there are no jobs anymore, even for those who help in loading the trucks with goods, they are just sleeping and dying of hunger.
“Some of the goods that are destined for neighboring countries like Togo, Cote d’voire, Burkina Faso and other African countries are lying down there, with rat eating many of them, the rain has also destroyed so many of them”
“So many of the food juice you are seeing there are worth over N20 million, and many of them have expired, you can no longer eat the biscuits, because they are now very soft due to the constant rainfall, it is rat that is feasting on many of them now, even the indomies are destroyed, because there is no way we can move this goods to their destination, because the same route from Cotonou leads to Togo, Cote d’voire and like that down to Burkina Faso and other neighboring countries around us.
“What we are doing here is genuine, the National Export Promotion Council (NEPC) headed by Segun Awolowo has been here before, and we don’t do any shady business, but many of us are now out of business and this is painful”, he lamented.
When asked about total number of trucks that usually go out of the bay before the border closure, he said about 20 trucks leave the bay on a daily basis and each truck carrying goods not less than N10 million.
“At least 20 trucks leave the bay to other countries before now, but presently none has left, each of the trucks that leaves the bay carry goods not less than N10 million, but all of those goods are the once being destroyed by rats and rainfall.” he lamented.
Some goods seen by our reporter include: noodles, wheat and several brands of soft drinks, beverages, and non-alcoholic drinks, all produced in Nigeria.