Importers and exporters have recorded a cumulative loss of not less than N4.3 trillion as touching land border closure since past three years. This unveiled as Nigerians accused security agents of turning the reopening of the borders to extortion enterprise. As at that time, over 1,450 Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating within the four land borders have also ceased function. In August 2019, the government shutdowm all the land borders to minimize the illegal importation of drugs, small arms and agricultural products into Nigeria from neighboring West African states.
However,on Friday the 22/04/2022, the Federal Government instructed the reopening of Idiroko border, Ogun State (South-West Zone); Jibiya border post, Katsina State (North-West Zone); Kamba border, Kebbi State (North-West Zone) and Ikom border post, Cross River State (South-South Zone). This came to be after the Federal Government ordered the reopening of Mfum, Seme, Illela, and Maigatari borders in 2020.
Clearing agents who spoke with media cite the security agents of converting the reopening of the borders, especially the Idiroko into extortion enterprise even as business activities are yet to commence at the borders. Speaking with media, an importer, Mr. Gideon Pedro Aremu, said that the border closure has not achieved anything, but the hardship, losses, and suffering upon the traders and the entire border communities.
According to him, importers and exporters around these borders have lost estimable over N4.3 trillion, while over 1,450 small businesses have shut down due to the closure of the borders between 2019 and 2022. “I am an importer and I have been doing business around Nigerian borders for about four decades now. I do business around all these borders and I know how things work when it comes to transacting businesses. Within the period, the borders were shut, a lot of importers have gone into bankruptcy, as most of them could not pay back the loans they collected from the bank.
“When I mentioned we lost up to such amount, I know what I’m saying. I’m not exaggerating at all! The N4.3 trillion was not even part of the revenue Customs Commands around these borders are losing annually.