By Ade Olu
A Public Affairs Commentator based in Awka, Anambra State, Comrade Obi Ochije, has said that the long closure of the nation’s land borders by President Muhammadu Buhari, did not yield the expected results and benefits to the nation.
President Buhari had in August 2019, directed that all the nation’s borders with Benin Republic be shut to goods as part of efforts to tackle smuggling and associated corruption as well as encouraging local production of the goods.
Similar order was made in October to close all the borders with other neighbours for the same reasons.
Commenting on the reopening of the borders, the Public Affairs Commentator, Comrade Obi Ochije, noted with disappointment that the nation could not boast to have achieved the goals of shutting those borders, but had rather brought untold hardship on its citizens, particularly those whose means of survival was linked to activities at those borders.
“Do you know that many Nigerians are not alive to tell the story? Some of the affected persons died of blood pressure, stroke and other sicknesses induced by the closure. Some people have trailer loads of goods stopped from entering the country and those goods got expired. They were plunged into debt”.
“Those who advised President Buhari to shut the borders did not advise him well because the purpose was rather defeated. They should have allowed some goods to come in whilst others we can produce in quantum should be banned”. Ochije submitted.
He however expressed happiness that the borders were reopened during the festive time, a situation he believed would reduce the hardship Nigerians have been through for the past fourteen months.
On the solution to the myriad of problems at the borders, Comrade Ochije appealed to President Buhari to look into the welfare and well-being of custom officials to divert their minds away from corruption tendencies.
“Corruption at those borders is too much. I think the government must close monitor events there and change the guards if the need arises. Besides, government must see to the welfare and well-being of the officials to place them in a position to resist inducements which characterize the operations at the borders. Government must upgrade the borders, pay the officials good salaries and allowances so that their minds will be take away from corruption”.
The Public Affairs Commentator expressed optimism that the positive impacts of the development would soon manifest in form of reduction in prices of certain goods.