Border Closure: Understanding why Nigeria closed its border
“Benin Republic has a population of 12 million people. But it is the worlds 5th importer of rice. In 2018, it imported rice worth US$996m.
Benin is also world’s largest importer of used cars and second-hand clothing. All with a population of only 12 million people.
Do you wonder how? Don’t!
98.2% of these imports into Benin are only on transit. Their final destination is Nigeria!
Nigeria is world’s largest consumer of used cars and second-hand clothing, and is also Africa’s largest consumer of Asian-grown rice.
The problem here is that all these imported goods attract appropriate import duty and trade tax, which are paid to the Beninoise Government while the goods are thence SMUGGLED into Nigeria WITHOUT ANY PAYMENT to the Nigerian Government, thereby, adding zero value to the Nigerian economy!
Sadly, THIS IS ALL DONE BY NIGERIANS!
Granted, ECOWAS/CEDEAO charter allows for free trade between member states, but on goods produced in member countries, and NOT on imports from other economic blocs.
Where foreign goods are transiting through a member country, and ending up in another member country, the ECOWAS charter stipulates that the country of transit MAY collect a token trade tax, and its Customs officials should then escort the goods to the border of the importing country and hand it over to the Customs officials of the importing country!
But what we see in the case of Benin Republic is that it collects CUSTOMS DUTY plus TRADE TAX, and then allows the goods to pass through its hinterland for onward smuggle into Nigeria!
This is a clear violation of ECOWAS statutes and no nation can condone such costly infraction.
Nigeria has tolerated this nonsense from Benin for far too long and it is time to stop the malpractice if we want Nigeria’s economy to grow.
Therefore, whoever cries foul because we have closed our borders to smugglers while we’re putting our act together, IS AN ENEMY OF NIGERIA!.
Nigeria makes up about 74% of ECOWAS population and about 71% of its economy. It is ECOWAS that needs Nigeria and not the other way round!
ANY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MEMBER COUNTRIES MUST BE BASED ON EXTANT REGULATION.”
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