Why We Restrict Movement At Seme Border---Customs     

Stranded passengers and vehicles at Seme border post on yesterday.   

Many travelers and vehicles were stranded for hours on Thursday at Seme border post following restriction of movement around the country’s frontier with Benin Republic. 

The restriction followed the joint border security exercise ordered by the Federal Government aimed at securing Nigeria’s land and maritime borders. 

The exercise, code-named, ‘Ex-Swift Response’, was being jointly conducted by the customs, immigration, police and military personnel and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser. 

Recall that Customs Spokesman, Joseph Attah, had in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja said that the joint border security exercise would be conducted in 25 states across the South-South, South-West, North-Central and North-West zones and urged the public to cooperate with the officials. 

Incoming travelers and vehicles were thoroughly searched by the additional security officials drafted to the border, causing long delays. 

Many commercial vehicles conveying passengers into the country through the Seme border were ordered to park at the new border post for several hours while hundreds of Nigeria-bound trucks were parked across the border. 

Mr Christopher Lawal, a passenger on Chisco Bus Transport, said that their vehicle had been stop for inspection for several hours. 

“We don’t know what is happening. Our bus was stopped for inspection since 12 noon, they just asked us to wait.

 “We have spent close to three hours now and nobody is telling us what is happening. 

“We are not aware of the restriction, we went on excursion to Ghana and coming back to the country, they just asked the driver to wait,” he said. 

Mr Daniel Avoseh, a coconut trader, said that his four trucks of coconut coming from Ghana was stuck at border post since the exercise started on Tuesday. 

“Up till now, they did not allow the trucks to pass. I am not aware of any restriction before I went to buy coconut in Ghana,” he said.

But, the Customs spokesperson explained that: “A joint security exercise is ongoing to better secure the border” 

He affirmed that “it will take several days and we have been working to ensure that it does not result in too much disruption for travelers.” 

However, he did not clarify why there was no formal announcement about the planned security exercise that was capable of causing such interruption to persons and businesses across the sub-region.