Months after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the reopening of the nation’s land borders, the Idiroko border in Ogun State remains closed to commercial activities.
Buhari had in December 2020 directed that the borders with neighbouring West African countries be reopened after they were shut down in 2019.
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Authorities said the borders were shut down over increasing cases of insecurity, proliferation of arms, among others. The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) also added rice and poultry products smuggling to the list.
However, Daily Trust investigation at the border recently shows that only travellers with valid documents are allowed through the Idiroko border while legitimate trade between Nigeria and Benin Republic via Idiroko is at zero level.
Along the route, there were about 58 security checkpoints from Attan junction to the Idiroko border which traders said were avenues of extortion by security operatives especially from drivers who are often forced to part with N200 or more between the checkpoints.
Contacted during the visit, NCS spokesman in Ogun Command, Ahmed Oloyede, confirmed this.
“We are aware of the presidential directive, but we are yet to receive any clear cut order from customs headquarters. Customs’ duty is to facilitate legitimate trade and to suppress smuggling.”