Border Closure Designed For Few To Control Nigeria’s Economy – Fadahaunsi

Border Closure Designed For Few To Control Nigeria’s Economy – Fadahaunsi
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“…They use trailers to export cement, smuggle rice to Nigeria unhindered “

Senator Francis Adenigba Fadahaunsi, representing Osun East Senatorial District in the Senate in an EXCLUSIVE interview with Aljazirahnews Nigeria, Associate Editor, Abdul Lateef Bamgbose spoke on the Danger of the waiver granted to Dangote and BUA to engage in boarder trading despite the closure of the Nation’s boarders by the Federal Government

Distinguished as a stakeholder, one time Controller of Customs, will you be surprised that despite the closure of the nation’s boarders Dangote and Abdulsalam, Bua, have been given the sole right to trade across the boarders ?

I am not surprised because it is illegal boarder closure and boarder closure is only for the few and the privileged to control the economy both in and out, you have seen what is playing out , if two Cement factories are given the right to trade across the boarders when the boarder is closed against Nigerians , against the whole nation and if two were given permissions , waivers to carry on business with other Countries, the others will be left out, the economy is worst for it .

There are a lot of conglomerate  that are producing soap, plastics, what Nigerians are benefitting in other Countries like Ghana, Togo and Benin republic, go and see our product there almost in this countries, but if Dangote and Bua are given the power to transfer their products  to this countries , there will be trade in balance. The Ghananians are now fighting back because their products cannot come to Nigeria, they have a lot of products.

According to ECOWAS protocol they should be allowed, but we are now violating that article, giving exemption to few, automatically there will be scarcity now a bag  Cement is 3100, here in Nigeria it is affecting the construction industry  and the labour market, because once people cannot afford cement the daily labour, like the site workers who depend on sites works will not be able to go, so my advice to the government before this discovery escalate to real problem, the government should do something in the area of trade between Nigeria and other neigbouring countries. One the youth that go in and come out of the boarder for business are more than 1million a day, this is are our youth.

They don’t have other business than to go Ghana as artisans to go and work, to bring in TLS and so on, but for the past one years they have been locked out and the result is what we are seeing now, youth restiveness, #Endsars, vandalization, and hoodlum and so on.

What do you suggest as the way out?

We are already having problem unless the Government make proper to monitor the boarder very well and allow things to come in as per the protocol and allow the youth to trade, we will be sitting on a time bomb, youth will continue to trouble Nigeria and there is nothing we can do. They will retort to robbery and other crimes and there is little you can do, we can’t kill all of them.

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When you say Government, the impression out there is that the legislature is not part of the Government, though there are three arms of Government, the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislative, perhaps confirming the fear of the less charitable critics of the 9th Assembly that you are mere rubber stamps, the Senate has not come up with any tangible suggestion or condemnation of this perceived excess by the Executive in their performance of their constitutional roles of checking the excess of the Buhari’s regime?

The senate has at no point succumb to boarder closure because they know , because  we know boarder closure must be supported by legislation, because before you close boarder you have to consult other countries  within the west African Sub region if not it will be counterproductive, if you see what Nigerians are suffering in Ghana, go and see their plight, because that is retaliations , if this retaliations continue in other west African sub region then there is going to be a problem, within now you cannot go out, even if you are going out you will be monitored by few security agent and how many of them will go through the security checks?

So when I said boarder closure is targeted at few to control the economy that is what I meant and that is what is happening.  Are you saying Rice is not coming in? Rice is coming in through few regulated people, but they are not paying duty, the Tokunbo you ban they are coming in and they are not paying Duty. Why don’t you allow them to come in and pay Duty?

And let the genuine business continue to run, you think youth will not trouble Nigeria again? They don’t have anywhere to go again, they can’t fly out to go and buy thing, they can’t go by road to Cotonu and buy their thing and their artisan work, Ghanians cannot come here, if you go to Akpongbon in Lagos, you will see the place is dry, if are familiar with Lagos Island that place use to be a business hubs. Most of the goods brought in are taken away by Ghanians, Togolese, to the republic  of Burkina Faso, we supply goods to these areas, even Nigeria made goods, so if you incarcerate people and they are dying they will fight back.

How many people are ready to go to farm? The other time you said you ban rice because rice must grow, as at the time you ban rice it was about N15,000, N14,000 and N19,000, now it is N35,000 and above and the volume of imported rice in Nigeria now is higher than home grown rice, how did they come in?, they are come in through few regulated people and they are not paying duty, is it not the same agents that are monitoring it that are escorting it to the market?

So, is it the same people that were granted waivers that are bringing in this thing?

No, even if they are not granted waiver to bring in Rice and Tokunbo, what of the security agents that are supposed to monitor the closure of the boarders?, I have said it times without numbers that boarder closure cannot last more than  six  months. The economy is grounded. The other day they said petrol stations within 20 kilometers to boarders should be shut down, you have forgotten that within the boarder community you have more than 20 million people, is the petrol not been sold there?

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By now the Federal Government should have made an agreement with them there , to build petrol Stations in the republic of Benin,  Ghana doesn’t need our petrol,  it is only this small, small Neigbouring countries ,they don’t sell Nigeria Cement in Benin because there is Niboro Cement factory in Benin built by Nigeria so as to stop smuggling of Cement.

But this one they are doing is against Bi lateral trade agreement they   don’t allow them to bring in their goods, soon or later the Trailers Dangote and BUA are using to export cements will be used to smuggle in rice and other goods and there is nothing anybody can do about it, just because the Customs and Soldiers manning the boarders are also human beings, are they not going to eat? You have provided food for them and you said they are corrupt, any Task force should not be more than three to six months because they will be corrupt, and you made them to be corrupt.

The petrol you said should not be sold 20 kilometers to boarder the petrol , the other day over 230  Tankers were taken out through Chikanda by the same Task Force , Boarder DRILL , the rice is still coming in , the boarder Drill is still there.

If the Senate has not succumb to the closure, but there is no any move to reprimand the Executive?

How many resolutions the National Assembly will pass, we have passed a lot of resolutions, to forestall what has now resulted into youth restiveness, the Executive will not listen, now because there is problem, they are calling for interventions, I believe you heard the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, fews days back warning that we may not be able to handle another round of #Endsars protest, if the government did not do something fast about the youth.

If you go round Abuja in the morning you will know there is trouble, many of them go to wait for Trailers to go and take them to site, but where is the work, where is the site, no one is building Cement has skyrocketed because the market is been regulated by few, the contracts you took when it is #22, it is now #320, how do your account for it. The youth we have left to fallow in the labour market will face us now and it is all over the country.

The boys that were traveling abroad to buy this , buy that are now jobless  and this was what resulted to #Endsars protest, the SARS created the problem , when the boarders were closed, some of them went into Cyber trading , Yahoo, Yahoo, then the SARS abandoned their responsibility of fighting robbery, fighting Cybercrime became a lucrative business for SARS instead of EFCC who has the mandate to fight Cyber Crimes , SARS was following even artists , why are they not fighting EFCC who has the mandate to fight them? Because this boys could not travel out, the retort to Cyber business, some of this policemen are also into the Yahoo, Yahoo, business, so they know themselves so they keep going after themselves.

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There was a time I called the Commissioner of Police in Osun state to advise him that look SARS was stepping out of its mandate that they usurping EFCC’s mandate by going after this boys, they should allow EFCC do their work, so he agreed that is why you don’t have too much problem in Osun.

Generally, this children are our Children, they are fighting for their right, government should address their grievances rather than clamping down on them, and it is the hoodlums who infiltrated into them that should be investigated not the protesters. The President of the Senate has assured the youths of putting in place legislations that will address some of the issues raised by the youth that is how far we can go as lawmakers, we cannot force the Executive to obey resolutions.

I think it is time to sit down and look at the solution, let’s stop this blame games, it will not help us, when this children were on the streets, in thousands, where were the politicians, policemen and individuals that are now making noise? They could not come out of their houses , Soldiers have done their worse, they have dented Nigeria’s image internationally by shooting innocent protesters, the protesters have laid down their gauntlets , so why all these shenanigans , freeze their accounts, try them for terrorism? If we are not careful this thing will escalate.

When you are saying youth, they are more than 30 per cent of the population, I don’t want their problem, if we can avoid it, I listened to the president, and he was appealing and telling the Traditional Rulers to interface with the youth, so I don’t want to believe they are arresting them. Because what I saw during the “ Ali Must Go “ in the 70’s in Lagos taught me lesson, many of the people  today cannot tell the story.

Let’s go back to the round table and address these grievances, let ASUU go back to Classes, let the Students go back to schools, the problem is 50 percent solve, how much is the ASUU asking for? Give it to them instead of buying arms and ammunition to chase them up and down.


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