The Association of Freight Forwarding Practitioners of Nigeria (AFFPON) has said at least N13 billion is lost weekly as a result of the border closure by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The president, AFFPON, Miftahu Ya’u, made this known while addressing newsmen at the freight forwarders and importers joint stakeholders’ forum where they appealed to the federal government for the opening of the Lolo border in Kebbi State, linking Nigeria and Benin Republic.
He said, “The situation at the Lolo border is a very sad one. Our findings reveal that truck drivers are sleeping on bare floor with some exposed to attacks by snakes and others falling sick due to the unfavourable conditions they find themselves in.
“The closure of the border also has a negative impact on the freight forwarding and import and export sub-sectors, causing delays, increased costs and disruptions to trade activities.
“The Arewa Economic Forum revealed that the northern Nigerian businessmen from the affected states are losing an estimated sum of N13 billion weekly to the border closure to trade, farms and market shutdown.”
He added that the appeal is a result of complaints from the freight forwarders operating at the borders as well as importers over the federal government’s policy of the closure of all Nigerian and Nigerien borders to enforce the ECOWAS embargo on the Niger Republic after the military takeover in the neighbouring country.
“It is imperative at this juncture to state that the Association of Freight Forwarding Practitioners of Nigeria (AFFPON) is a law-abiding association and therefore gives 100 per cent support to the government of Nigeria over this development, especially on the Nigeria and Niger Republic borders.
“However, this association has no intention to interfere with the closure of the Nigeria/Niger borders but rather is focusing on the need for the government to provide an alternative route that will give room for thousands of containers trapped outside our borders to gain access into the country.”
He also explained that the alternative routes are the borders linking Nigeria to Benin Republic like Lolo border along Maje/lllo axis in Kebbi State which are closed for operations.
He said the border has a direct link to Benin Republic and can be utilized as an alternative route to allow thousands of containers that have been transported from Benin Republic into the country.