Ogun communities urge Federal Government to review stand on border closure
Border communities in Ogun State yesterday appealed to the Federal Government to immediately lift the ban on the border closure because of the negative effects on the people, especially those living in the border areas.
They said that the negative effects the closure has had on the people outweighed whatever benefits that might have accrued to the country.
The communities, about 400 of them, insisted that the need for the government to review the closure was overdue because of the hardship it had brought to the communities in the border areas.
To them, curbing smuggling goes beyond border closure, as it requires well thought-out policy and not “such simplistic approach.”
They listed the hardship they have been experiencing since the closure to include finding it difficult to get fuel to carry out fuel-related business and also market their farm produce.
Professor Anthony Asiwaju, who spoke on behalf of the communities at a press conference in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, stated: “The imperative for this briefing has been underscored by the apparent insensitivity characteristic of physically-distant decision-makers in Abuja, who are understandably too far away to feel concerned about pains and sufferings caused Nigerian border communities in the margins of the state territory as a result of ill-advised policy-making at the centre.”
The event was attended by eight monarchs who represented their communities.
They argued that it was regrettable that the government was over-blowing gains allegedly accruing from the closure while ignoring the dire plights of the entire Nigerian border communities.
Asiwaju said that the saddest aspect of the closure was that it had been enlarged to include banning of petrol and petroleum products in circulating within 20 kilometres of the border where the teeming masses of the affected border population reside and carry out their legitimate rural economic activities.
According to him, apart from small-scale industries, such as metal and wood works, hair-dressing and block-making, among others, which had been adversely affected by the closure, there are a number of large-scale mechanised commercial agriculture and agro-allied industrial projects that had been abandoned by the owners because of lack of fuel or diesel to operate the farm machines.
He said there were other commercial farms in the area, which had also closed shops for the same reason, resulting in the sacking of all their workers.
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