FG may open Seme border for vehicle importation

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Freight forwarders operating at Seme Border have written to the Federal Government demanding the opening of the border for vehicle importation.

The Director of Road Transport, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Ibrahim Musa, disclosed this at Seme during a meeting between officials of Nigeria and Benin organised by the Economic Community of West African States.

He explained that freight forwarders appealed to the former Minister of State for Transportation during his last visit to the border, asking for the reactivation of the border.

He said a memo prepared and sent to the Federal Government based on the request was approved by the Federal Executive Council.

The director said FEC had promised to leave the approval on reopening the border to the new government to act on.

He said, “I was here with the former Minister of State for Transportation and the freight forwarders pleaded that the border should be reactivated for free movement of goods and services. The minister made us prepare a memo to that effect. It was considered and sent to the government.”

Also speaking at the event, the Customs Area Controller in charge of Seme Command, Dera Nnadi, said the service had noticed a reduction in its revenue since the importation of vehicles was banned from the land borders.

He said, “The Honourable Minister of Transportation, the immediate past one, responding to some of our requests and from the stakeholders, promised to take them to the Federal Executive Council; one of them is how to fully open this border.”

Nnadi also said illegal checkpoints along the border corridors have been dismantled by customs, while the Border Control unit of the Nigerian Police Force has promised to do the same.

He urged the Federal Government to complete the highway from Lagos to Seme Border, saying the completion would grow trade and investment in the Abidjan-Lagos corridor.

The Seme Customs boss maintained that the corridor is important for the growth of trade, investment, cultural diversity, and peace in West Africa and the whole of Africa.

Comptroller Nnadi who is also a Co-chair of the Joint Border Post said, “Abidjan-Lagos Corridor is an important corridor for trade among West African countries, a melting point where our people share culture and religion. It is a very important place where we maintain relationships and peace with ourselves. It is important to keep the corridor alive.

We appreciate ECOWAS for its contribution to the growth of business in the corridor. While appreciating the Federal Ministry of Transportation for the ongoing rehabilitation of the highway, if the road is complete, it will improve trade.”