Reopening: Activities yet to commence at Seme, Illela borders

Twenty-four hours after the Federal Executive Council, declared four of the nation’s land border open, activities are yet to resume at the Illela border, linking Sokoto State in Nigeria to Konni, Niger Republic.

Also, Nigeria’s land border with Benin Republic at Seme, near Badagry, Lagos State, remained closed, more than 24 hours after the Federal Government announced its reopening on Wednesday.

At a chance meeting on his way out of the Illela Customs headquarters, the Comptroller General, Sokoto/Zamfara command, Ma’aji A. A, explained that no directive has been given officially.

“Yes, the government has declared some of the land borders open, but in administration, you know how things work. Here at Sokoto Nigeria Customs Command, we are yet to receive the signal.

“I am here to see the level of preparation for the reopening of the border. I am sure the traders are eager to return to their legitimate businesses.

Also, human and vehicular movements across the border were restricted as the frontier remained under lock when visited on Thursday evening.

NAN reports that intending travelers were denied exit at Seme by officials of Nigeria Immigration Service who claimed that they were yet to get a formal directive to reopen the border.

An official of Nigeria Customs Service, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that security agencies were still expecting official directives 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 the head office in Abuja.

“We can not just open the border like that. As you can see, when the border was closed they introduced the 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 reports that movement restrictions and checking of goods and vehicles remained in place at more than 20 checkpoints were mounted by Customs, Immigration, and Police along Badagry Expressway.

Also, commercial activities were yet to pick up at the Seme market due to the continued closure of the border.

A trader at the popular Seme market, Mrs Funke Senapon, appealed to the Federal Government to order the officials to reopen the border.

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