The land border of Nigeria with the Republic of Benin at Seme, near Badagry, Lagos State,
remained closed for more than 24 hours after the Federal Government declared its reopening on Wednesday.
According to a correspondent from the Nigerian News Agency (NAN) who visited Seme on Thursday
evening, human and vehicular movement across the border post was limited as the border remained locked.
NAN reports that intended travelers were refused an exit to Seme by officials of the
Nigerian Immigration Service who believed that the formal border reopening directive had yet to be received.
An official of the Nigerian Customs Service, pleading for anonymity, informed NAN that
the border protection agencies were still awaiting official orders to reopen the border.
“We heard about the reopening of the four land borders from the news on Wednesday, but we are still waiting for directives from head office in Abuja.
“We can not just open the border like that. As you can see, when the border was closed they introduced Joint Border Patrol which comprises of Army, Immigration, Police and Customs.
“Anytime they ask us to open the border, we will open it,” he said.
NAN also notes that at more than 20 checkpoints mounted by Customs, Immigration and
Police along Badagry Expressway, movement constraints and inspection of goods and vehicles remained in place.
Because of the continued closure of the border, commercial activities
on the Seme market have also yet to pick up.
Mrs Funke Senapon, a trader in the common Seme market, called on
the Federal Government to order the reopening of the border by officials.
She said residents and merchants who rejoiced at the news of the
reopening were disappointed to find that the border had not been opened.
NAN reports that Ms. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, declared on Wednesday the
immediate reopening of the four land boundaries following a virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja.
On August 21, 2019, the Federal Government ordered the closure
of Nigeria’s borders to curb the smuggling of goods and weapons.
“The president has approved the reopening of four land borders, namely– Seme, South-West, Ilela, North West, Maigatari border in the North-West and North-Central and Mfum in the South-South.
“These four land borders will be opened immediately, while the remaining land borders are directed to be reopened on or before Dec. 31,’’ the minister told State House Correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday
She said that Buhari also directed that while the borders were being reopened, there was still a ban
on the importation of rice, poultry and other goods and that the border patrol team would be enforcing them.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN