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Ex-envoys hail borders’ reopening, say decision to ease Nigeria-Ghana rift

The Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) has lauded the Federal Government for reopening four of the country’s land borders, saying the action attests to the current administration

The Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) has lauded the Federal Government for reopening four of the country’s land borders, saying the action attests to the current administration’s priority for the welfare and security of the citizens.

Its president, Amb. Ganiyu Lawal, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday.

He said: “The reopening of the borders is a commendable effort that shows that the government is listening, monitoring and taking into consideration the welfare and security of Nigerians.

“So, that accounted for the long wait to reopen the borders.

“Without getting a good grasp of the situation and having in place emergency operational response to whatever outcome to the opening, Nigeria will not have opened the border until when we are in a safe position to do so.

“It is very commendable. We commend the government for being listening and working one.”

Lawal stressed that Nigeria stands to benefit economically from the decision amid the subsisting ban on importation of rice and some other commodities.

The President Muhammadu Buhari administration, on December 16, reopened the Seme border in the southwest zone of the country, Mfun border in the South-South as well as Maitagari and Ilela borders in the northwest zone.

It had shut the gateways on February 22, 2019, ahead of the presidential and federal legislative elections, which held the next day.

Lawal urged the government to put security measures in place to check the movement of illegal immigrants across the boundaries.

He continued: “I think there has been an increase in surveillance, we have new aero-drones and a lot of other inputs into our (security) architecture.

“We have also had a lot of intelligence gathering. All these puts together gave the government the assurance that we can really open the borders and monitor activities within the borders.

“So, we feel comfortable about that.

“Regarding the problem between Nigeria and Ghana (clashes between Ghanaian and Nigerian spare parts traders), this is a diplomatic issue, which diplomacy will always resolve.”

The ex-envoy expressed the hope that the reopening of the borders would resolve the hostility.

“All other rough edges will definitely be smoothened because the major factor that led to the skirmishes was closure of the borders.

“This was actually hurting Ghana and the country decided to do one or two things by making levies and taxes that were already in place more stringent.

“Ordinarily, what Nigeria should have done in terms of diplomacy was to reciprocate, but a lot of negotiations have taken place and that puts us in a comfortable position to reopen the borders,” he added.