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Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by CaptainMeks: 6:24pm On Oct 23, 2019
Since Nigerians No Longer Come, Our Businesses Threatened Benin Republic Traders



Following the Federal Government’s border closure to smuggling, ADEKUNLE SULAIMON who visited adjoining Benin Republic communities along Seme border, reports the frustrations of the traders who had once benefited from the cycle of legal and illegal importation of contraband items into Nigeria.



Smuggling, believed to be the bane of the economy in a number of unlimited ways, simply because it is an avenue for the evasion of tax and other levies, endangers government policies by slowing down the development projects meant to be carried out with the revenue ought to be generated for the country.

Smuggled goods destabilise market prices since they are often cheaper than the ones supplied to markets through legal routes thereby exposing genuine traders to unsportsmanlike competition. It undermines the local industry not least because it under-cuts prices of goods manufactured in Nigeria thus crowding out the market for local products. The unfortunate result is the breakdown of neighbourhood businesses joined by loss of employment and the high pace of joblessness. There is similarly the low profitability related to wellbeing and security risks with respect to buyers who disparage unsatisfactory, lapsed and counterfeit items.



It has been over two months since President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the closure of borders and also placed an embargo on the importation of rice, groundnut oil, frozen foods, drugs, and other commodities considered to be contraband. Among the aforementioned, rice is believed to be the most preferred staple food for Nigerians.

Border closure
A rice trader at the other side of the border in Benin Republic
The major food markets where parboiled rice is sold are dominated by around 70 percent of foreign rice, leaving no place for locally produced variant which has no place in the market because of Nigerians low patronage to it.

On June 13, 2019, the Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) represented at an event by the Assistant Comptroller General and Customs Coordinator in charge of Zone A, Mr. Kaycee Ekekezie as reported by several media organisations said that the NCS is making huge returns daily claiming it to be as a result of border closures which now enables for proper importation of goods/items into the country.

Nigerian Tribune visited some of the borders including Seme and other smuggling routes in Badagry, Yardi, Gbetromeh, Gbaji communities. Findings reveal that foreign parboiled rice produced in Thailand and India, vegetable oil and cars maintain the lead in the list of smuggled items into Nigeria.

The tale of Badagry-Seme routes

From Badagry roundabout to Gbaji Bridge, there are five checkpoints consisting of the Nigerian Police, Customs, Immigration officers. After the Gbaji Bridge, there is just one checkpoint manned by Mobiile police officers. In Yardi, there are two Customs checkpoints assisted by police officers. Sultan beach houses one custom checkpoint, meanwhile, at Kolington filling station, there is just one Customs checkpoint. At Akoro, there are two checkpoints, each manned by Immigration officers and Customs officers respectively. Gbetrome houses one. After Gbetrome are two checkpoints managed by the immigration officers. Asipa has two Customs checkpoints and immediately after Asipa checkpoints are three more checkpoints before getting to Seme border, totaling twenty checkpoints in all from Badagry to Seme.

The empty Pau market in Benin Republic



On getting to the conventional market popularly called Pau in Benin Republic, the state of the market showed that the closure of the border has caused a negative effect on commercial activities, resulting in poor sales and closure of several shops. In fact, one could barely tell that it is the popular rice market since the streets of the once busy crowded market were near empty.

Border closure
Popular Pau market in Benin Republic after Border closure
Investigations also reveal that many of these items sold at far cheaper prices than in the Nigerian market, thereby boosting smuggling activities with attendant huge profits for the perpetrators. For instance, a 50kg bag of rice sold for between N9,200 and N10,000. After buying the said bags of rice, the smugglers usually paid at least N350 per bag to cross the border. But the bags of rice were sold in Nigeria between N18,000 and N20,000 even N22,000 per bag. For vegetable oil, a 20-litre ‘jerry can’ sells for N9,500, with additional N200 each paid to local truckers to cross the border.


“Before the closure, I sold 100 bags per day; now I barely sell five bags”

A trader at the rice market, Mr. Francis Abimbola, spoke with Nigerian Tribune on his ordeal since the beginning of the closure. According to him, “Before this time, I sold between 80 and 100 bags of rice in a day, although the Marigold parboiled rice is the most ordered, now I barely sell 5 bags before the day passes by. In fact, sometimes I don’t get anybody to patronise me, I close the shop earlier than expected.

“The little sales are even made by our own people here, who buy only in retail price to sell to their customers believed to be the final consumers.”


Mr. David Conde, another trader, recalled how Nigerians regularly flooded Seme market where they bought variety of items, which they transported back to Nigeria. He added that Nigerians were the heartbeat of Seme market, hence the hardship being faced by the ban placed on their patronage of the market.


An official of the Nigeria Customs Service inspecting a vehicle at the border
“In no time, I will be relocating to my village to look for alternative means of survival since the market is becoming unfavourable daily,” Conde said.


According to a frozen foods seller, Mr. Femi Abdurraji with “Dieu fait tout” (God does all things) Frozen Limited, “The sales of frozen foods weren’t this bad even when they were declared contrabands by the Nigeria government under Jonathan’s administration.

“Last week, about four shops that dealt in the sales of frozen foods were forcefully locked up by the owners who have gone to borrow loans to get their shops stocked up, only to be unable to pay up as and when due,” he said.

He further appealed that the government should reverse the decision on the border closure as the economy was growing down the drain daily. “People are really suffering here, our customers who manage to buy even small quantities to take to Nigeria are waylaid by the customs and deprived of the little bought for either consumption or sales.”


However, a business mogul, Musa Kadiri from Okene, Kogi State, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari, describing his action as that which would save the depreciating naira and locally produced items. He described the large-scale smugglers as “night-crawlers” saying that their cargoes were usually smuggled overnight..



‘We will stop smuggling with scanning machine’

It is no gainsaying that the Customs have seized many smuggled goods on various occasions, but such seizures have proven not to be enough to deter smugglers. Apparently, Mr. Fatai Ibrahim, an officer of the Customs insisted that the border command was strategising and conveying a significant level of knowledge and expert abilities, invigorating the whole land outskirt so as to thwart all endeavours of arms smuggling and different trans-outskirt wrongdoings into the country.

In this regard, he said the service has uncovered desperate antics being deployed by smugglers in order to beat customs operatives.


A trader at the market at Pau market in Benin Republic after Border closure
He spoke about a particular instance where a woman had loaded grains of rice in her body and also bought nylons in Seme, loaded them with rice and tied them around her waist, legs and hands, wearing an overall to hide her atrocities. On getting to the checkpoints, she had only a bag on her lap and when instructed to open it, she was pleading, saying it was just a little quantity of spaghetti she intended to eat at home with her children.

“I ordered her to alight from the bus so that I could advise her to desist from the act of smuggling and further bid her farewell. She first complained but finally obeyed. Immediately she stepped down, I noticed a few grains of rice on the ground; I was uninterested until it continued when I beckoned on her to follow me. I mildly hit her leg to know what was going on, only to find out that she had loaded herself with grains of rice. I called the soldier on duty, and we could not help but laugh hysterically at the action,” he recalled.

Ibrahim bragged that no amount of antics formulated by smugglers would go undetected by the officials. He said the dare-devil smugglers, who won’t stop from utilising the Seme course would keep on checking their misfortunes in a correctional facility when captured and indicted to fill in as an impediment to other people.

A customs officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity also underscored the need to amplify security along the fringes considering the security danger of unlawful importation of arms through the country’s seaports. He included that the command’s zero resilience to Nigeria’s security risk (by means of unlawful importation of arms) through fastidious screening of imported products utilising the scanning machine will be supported earnestly.

The free trade zone trade policy without the cooperation of neighbouring countries would be an exercise in futility since they provide alternative markets. Therefore, association with Benin Republic, Niger Republic, and Cameroon is essential for the success of any restrictive trade policy that will be made in Nigeria. Such participation ought to be outfitted towards the elimination of cross border price differences which create incentives for smuggling.

Against this setting, Nigeria should support the full usage of the Common External Tariffs understanding marked by the 15-member ECOWAS countries a few years ago. Stakeholders believe that the borders cannot continue to be shut; the necessary things should be done by the Nigerian government on price regulations and the improvement of locally made products for the extrication of the love of foreign products by Nigerians.

https://tribuneonlineng.com/border-closure-since-nigerians-no-longer-come-our-businesses-threatened-benin-republic-traders/?fbclid=IwAR0y38WcpnMDtomyhgoqxNL28m08GEvwKEyyuw9DywMY6H__WrPiOQvuzGE

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Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Nobody: 9:59pm On Oct 23, 2019
Surprisingly... Ftc..

This goes to all that are suffering out there... Life happens

3 Likes

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Wickedtruths: 10:34pm On Oct 23, 2019
“In no time, I will be relocating to my village to look for alternative means of survival since the market is becoming unfavourable daily,” Conde said.

Lol

Buhari is sending smugglers and their accomplices back to the village o!

This action has singlehandedly shown a glimpse of the economic power that Nigeria wields. As far as India and Thailand, they are crying. Even the IMF can't talk nonsense again, they are confused.

Buhari no get certificate, e no go school. Yet, he is confounding Professors of Economics.

162 Likes 17 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by MrNipplesLover(m): 10:42pm On Oct 23, 2019
Make una go away.



we no dey follow Una play again.



E pain dem

85 Likes 5 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by handsomeyinka(m): 10:42pm On Oct 23, 2019
God Bless Nigeria

67 Likes 6 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by johnmattew: 10:43pm On Oct 23, 2019
both smugglers and smugglers are facing the heat

18 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by NLSavage: 10:43pm On Oct 23, 2019
They should work on the Price of local rice instead of jubilating the woes of countries affected by the closure of the border.

peace

28 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Blinkers: 10:43pm On Oct 23, 2019
cool

I've never liked Buhari's style of government but I'll admit it that I like his closed-border policy.

I never knew Nigerians were this important to their West African neighbours as long years of the military government and civilian governments treating Nigerians like crap makes me feel like Nigerians are a trashy specie of no consequential value to humanity.

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Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by nabegibeg: 10:43pm On Oct 23, 2019
tongue
Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by INDUSTRIALFAN(m): 10:43pm On Oct 23, 2019
A
Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Movicq(m): 10:44pm On Oct 23, 2019
Make i call my landlord

6 Likes 1 Share

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by YINKS89(m): 10:44pm On Oct 23, 2019
Mehn.. Nigeria dey threaten international market... All of them just dey lament

55 Likes 6 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by TheDestroyer: 10:44pm On Oct 23, 2019
If they come now una go dey hate because they sell more than you people like the fools in ghana. Honestly we really don't know our worth as a people that why we run to these mushroom countries and get harassed.

78 Likes 7 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by godbroda(m): 10:44pm On Oct 23, 2019
We still da first half...... grin

9 Likes 1 Share

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by telim: 10:45pm On Oct 23, 2019
Buhari should lock off the border, send the key to oba akirolu to dump it to the lagoon. If Benin feel threatened they should buy land in Nigeria for farming rice otherwise am really sorry for them. Alot of African countries are cashing out of Nigeria through the back door. Buhari as shown us a new way of dealing with those shitty countries. Once any of them misbehave na to saction them by closing our border.

90 Likes 8 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by MrFixIt007: 10:46pm On Oct 23, 2019
This Border Closure has really opened up lots of hidden realities. Let them export them to China and the United States. Nigeria is not their Dumping Ground. Hand go really meet them for this 1. Lolz

53 Likes 8 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by KingLennon(m): 10:46pm On Oct 23, 2019
It's affectinq everyone even the citizens. Lets just watch and see where the next level is taking us to...

1 Like

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by peculiar111(f): 10:47pm On Oct 23, 2019
Nigeria will survive ijn............republic of Benin...park well..fare well.......

Do stay within ikorodu or Lagos?....then call on peculiarconfectionaries# for your small chops...any kind of soup and food..cake..snacks and decoration....your satisfaction our core priority.. 08160092639

8 Likes 1 Share

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by backnbeta(f): 10:49pm On Oct 23, 2019
A woman 'loaded' rice on her body? Lies or exaggeration

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by picoba(m): 10:49pm On Oct 23, 2019
Good one.
Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Yemike(m): 10:49pm On Oct 23, 2019
I think the border should remain closed for the economic benefit of our dear nation.
The traders shouldn't complain cuz before rice there are other food products that people do eat and it also serves as some set of people's source of income. Rice came, get them out of business/change their business plan.
I was told that people only eat rice during Xmas in those days.
All these wailing Wailer's should just find another country to be depositing their garbages.

I don't fancy rice tho'. If everybody can be like me rice would have been extinct.
Ewa lo le shey.

55 Likes 6 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Tflex01: 10:50pm On Oct 23, 2019
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

*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 12m people.
DO YOU WONDER HOW??

*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 and, 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 REGULATIONS!

157 Likes 23 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Yusfunoble(m): 10:50pm On Oct 23, 2019
People don’t under the demerit of this free trade agreement.. Our domestic industries are suffering. They can't compete with countries that have a lower standard of living. As a result, they’re closing up and rendering a lot of people jobless. Let them close all borders so we can sort out domestic industries, give them the platform to grow and compete with others before thinking of opening anything.

Those foreign companies bringing stuff here are not helping the local industries before our government isn’t functioning to begin with. Even the ones (foreign) that set up their industry here, are still scamming/cheating us.

I don’t like commenting on stuff like this or support this administration, but they got this right. Unfortunately some useless people are taking advantage of this situation by allowing smugglers, while the marketers they’re helping are still repackaging foreign right for us. We are our problem in this country.

30 Likes 3 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by olujastro: 10:51pm On Oct 23, 2019
Is it not shameful to Benin Republic that smuggling of illegal goods into Nigeria constitutes 20% of their GDP??
A serious country would take this border closure as an opportunity to develop its local economy once and for all.
Most of their graduates are employed in the smuggling-into-Nigeria sector instead of in standard companies or offices that provide goods and services.
After leeching on Nigeria for decades, these smaller countries still have the guts to disrespect us.
Nonsense saboteurs!

42 Likes 3 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by jeff1607(m): 10:51pm On Oct 23, 2019
And there was a time beans held sway in the market in terms of price ,now it's rice

1 Like

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Fidelismaria: 10:51pm On Oct 23, 2019
As far as I'm concern buhari is still a dullard

11 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by oluwamaich(m): 10:52pm On Oct 23, 2019
Inside life

Nobody is smiling at all

How the rich will become poor overnight

#NigeriaFactor
Literarily, Nigeria owns Seme

4 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Nobody: 10:52pm On Oct 23, 2019
Bunch of backward Africans.

2 Likes

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by leofab(f): 10:54pm On Oct 23, 2019
Lolol
Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Nobody: 10:54pm On Oct 23, 2019

8 Likes

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Branzy(m): 10:55pm On Oct 23, 2019
Is it not this people that shut down glo in their country

13 Likes 1 Share

Re: Benin Republic Traders Lament As Nigeria Closes Border by Nobody: 10:56pm On Oct 23, 2019
NLSavage:
They should work on the Price of local rice instead of jubilating the woes of countries affected by the closure of the border.

peace

when local producers start producing more, because they dont face competition from illegal imports, the price will come down, eat yam or beans in the mean time...you won't die!!

49 Likes 6 Shares

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