The Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Custom Agents (ANLCA) Mr. Kayode Farinto has urged the Federal Government to reopen its land border, stating that the continuous closure negates the protocols and conventions agreement signed by the country.
Recall that the Federal Government had ordered the complete closure of Nigerian land borders, placing a ban on both legitimate and illegitimate movement of goods in and out of the country late last year due to security reasons.
However, speaking to some journalists in his office yesterday, the ANLCA Vice President stated that the closure of the border has overstayed why it was shut, informing that over 1000, licensed customs agents have been out of business with over 200,000 employees of the licensed customs agents unemployed since the closure about 10 months ago.
Farinto further argued that the continuous closure of the land borders will not only lead to job losses, but will affect the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) that Nigeria is a signatory to.
While urging the government to consider reopening for essential goods under this situation of the COVID 19 Pandemic
He said: "I am one of those that said the issue of border closure was a necessity when it was closed, however it is unfortunate that the policy makers in this country are not getting it right, we have closed our borders for more than eight months which is not too good for the country
"In the spirit of ECOWAS, it is not too good for us, now that we are trying to practice the African Free Trade Agreement it negates the agreement that we have signed.
"Ordinarily what the government should have done after closing the borders is to deploy security devices, there are prerequisite to be put in place, we are privilege to have gone through Banjul and Gambia
"Do you know that once a chip is hid on a container you can monitor that container as it is going on the road; these are things that customs refused to do, we left our borders closed and over hundreds of thousands are suffering as a result of this, and this is negating the spirit of ECOWAS and AFCTA.
"It is high time we opened our borders don't forget that freight forwarders and international business people that moves these cargoes are now unemployed with many sick and not able to afford a square meal
"It's not as if government have given them any palliatives, who ever is a think tank or the policy formulator for the government is not getting it right, I am of the opinion that it is high time we open our borders" he said.
Speaking further the Vice president of the ANLCA said due to the COVID 19 Pandemic the federal government may consider reopening for essential goods for now pending when the continents is free of the pandemic
"They will have to subject it to essential goods every country of the world still allows essential goods to move despite the outbreak of Corona Virus. For no,w we need to open our borders for essential goods to come in.
"The border closure was supposed to be a sting operation you do it for some few months and you open the border back, because the various neighbouring countries are ready to play the game by our rules.
"So why should we continue to close the borders, don't forget that oil is dwindling and I think the only thing we can do is to allow trade to Foster
"But now that the border is closed so many are unemployed, not even now that the Corona virus is killing a lot of people, another thing that is mostly killing now is hunger, government should start having a rethink on this because over 1000 licensed agents and over 200,000 people are unemployed due to the closure", he said.