Border Closure: Ogun Border Town Accuses Nigerian Customs Of Terrorizing Community - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Border Closure: Ogun Border Town Accuses Nigerian Customs Of Terrorizing Community

Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji
ABEOKUTA - The Oloola of Ilaraland, Oba Samuel Alabi Adeluyi in Imeko-Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State, has accused operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service of bastardising the good intention of the Federal Government in sanitising movements across the Nigerian borders. 

Oba Adeluyi, in a statement signed on Tuesday, lauded the closure of the land border with the primary aim of increasing border security and checkmating smuggling of unlawful items into the country by the Nigerian Customs Service and other security agencies. 

It would be recalled that, office of the National Security Adviser, ordered the Nigerian Customs Service, the Armed Forces of Nigeria as well as the Immigration Service and other intelligence agencies to embark on a joint border security exercise with code name, EX-SWIFT RESPONSE.

But Oba Adeluyi however lamented the insensitivity of security agents at the border communities to the plight of farmers and traders. 

According to him, since the announcement of the border closure, officers and men of the Nigerian Customs Service mounted blockade between Ilara and Imeko township. 

The royal father alleged that, the Customs Officers prevented residents of the town who are majorly farmers from transporting their farm produce to the markets and other parts of Ogun State. 

He said the farm produce being disallowed to be transported include; tomatoes, fruits, maize, yam, cassava, melon, and vegetables, thereby crippling all economy activities in the town. 

Oba Adeluyi further explained that, despite preventing the locally grown farm produce from being transported, cows are allowed from other neighbouring West African countries through the same Ilara-border said to have been closed. 

He equally accused the Customs officers of preventing transportation of petroleum products and engine oil to Ilara community and environs, saying a litre of PMS is now sold for N300 in black markets. 

"It is indeed an unprecedented economy agony, market are drying out, farm produce are rotten out since they cannot be transported to other markets in the state, and business activities are being paralyzed due to lack of petroleum supplies.

"We beg to know whether Ilara township and its environs is being cut off from the rest of Nigeria by the Federal government or that it was cheer overzealousness of the men and officers of the Nigerian Customs, or perhaps the officers failed to recognize where Nigerian borders really are. 

"While we strongly stand with the federal government policy and security agencies in ending inter-border crimes and smuggling activities, we believe such should be done to better the economic situation of Nigeria and not to destroy the peace and prosperity of her people."

Meanwhile, the National Public Relations Officers, Nigerian Customs Service, DC John Attah said the command is aware the joint border security team intercepted some perishable farm goods on Monday, saying talks are ongoing between the border communities and the joint security team involved in the joint border security exercise by the federal government. 

"Well, I am aware that the joint team did intercept some tomatoes, and I'm also aware that today, there have been some interactions and meetings between them and the joint team. And appropriate decisions have been taken. 

"They have just ended a meeting and the matters have been resolved. They (farmers) have met and have explained to them (joint border security agencies) that they are farmers and their farms are in Nigeria side, not the Benin Republic side, and they have detailed some operatives of the joint agencies to verify this claim.

"So, they have understood each other and they're on the same page. So, whatever issues there has been resolved."

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