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Ogun communities protest border closure

Residents of border communities in Ogun State have lamented the continued land border closure in the state, describing it as a “forgotten and abandoned” case…

Residents of border communities in Ogun State have lamented the continued land border closure in the state, describing it as a “forgotten and abandoned” case by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In August 2019, Nigeria closed its land borders with neighbouring Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, noting that while people were allowed to pass through, the movement of goods was blocked.

And in November the same year, the federal government, through the customs, directed that petroleum products should not be supplied to fuel stations within 20km of the borders.

However, President Buhari, on December 16, 2020, opened the land borders at Seme, Illela, Maigatari and Mfun, and left the border in Ogun State shut.

Our correspondent in Abeokuta had reported how the continued closure in the state dealt a huge blow on the revenue which the federal government generates from the import duties and seizures.

Speaking with Daily Trust, residents of the state expressed concern that while President Buhari had ordered reopening of other borders, Ogun’s case had been forgotten, leaving residents to bear the brunt.

 “Each time we are discussing it (border closure), what we always say to ourselves is that Buhari has forgotten about the border closure as it affects Ogun State. In Buhari’s mind, he has reopened the border,” Ahmed Ismaila, the Chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC) in Iwoye-Ketu, told Daily Trust.

Mr Ismaila said the policy, especially banning of fuel sales in communities within 20km radius to the border, had crippled economic activities of the residents.”

Therefore, he said, “If he (Buhari) orders the reopening, it would be good. But for us, we feel only a new administration can take the decision because left for Buhari, he has forgotten that our land border has not been reopened in Ogun State.”

Also speaking with Daily Trust, the Chairman of Ipokia Local Government Youth Forum (ILGYF), Mawutin Imoleayo Deji, noted that the continued border closure had affected all the four LGAs in Ogun West Senatorial District.

Mr Deji said the economic activities of traders and artisans had crumbled due to the lack of exporting activities and the ban on the sale of fuel in the border areas.

The residents, therefore, called on the federal government to as a matter of urgency reopen the border in order to revive their economic activities.

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