OrderPaperToday – The Ghanaian delegation to the 2nd ordinary session of the 2019 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has decried the continued closure of Nigerian borders.
The delegation called on the Nigerian government to open the Seme-Krake border which has several trucks coming with goods from Ghana to Nigeria stranded.
The appeal was made by the Ghanaian country representative, Mr. Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh, on the floor of the House during presentation of the country’s report before the ECOWAS parliament in Abuja, Nigeria.
He lamented that such actions infringed on the provisions of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and, therefore, prayed the Nigerian government to reopen the borders as quickly as possible.
He stated, “Mr. Speaker, another issue affecting Ghana’s trade with its neighbours in the sub region is the closure of the Nigerian-Benin border in September this year.
“While the Nigerian government blame the boarder closure on security issues emanating between them and the Republic of Benin, the Ghanaian side indicated to their Nigerian colleagues that the border closure had collateral damage on Ghana’s exports and imports to and from Nigeria.
“Nigeria may have good reasons for taking such action but the measures infringe on the provisions of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS). Whatever be the reason, this situation needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. On this note, Ghana’s delegation wishes to propose that the present mandate of the Task Force on ETLS be expanded to become an office of trade ombudsman and members of countries that wish to undertake measures that will deviate from the provisions of the ETLS must notify this office”, he demanded.
However, OrderPaperNigeria spoke to a member of the Nigerian delegation, former governor of Kwara State and Senator in the 8th assembly, Mr. Shaaba Lafiagi, who said the closure of the border was also necessary for the Nigerian government to come up with realistic plans that would boost the economy and create jobs.
“A lot of people that are supposed to be our friends have taken Nigeria for a ride for too long and that cannot continue.
“I think Nigeria also has economic problems to resolve. You cannot keep your border open for any ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’ to come in. You need to go round this country, you will see trucks and cars that lying fallow, and you are wondering how did they get into this country. Mind you, Nigeria also has an economy to manage. Look at the situation right before us, nobody would just look at it and look away. We are not stopping anybody from importing but the proper thing has to be done like paying of duties and all that.
“So I’m sorry if they feel otherwise but Nigeria has to fix her own economy. Nigeria has to make sure that her own economy is not damaged, Nigeria has to make sure that she creates employment for her ownpeople. Nigeria has to look the way of foreign exchange as well.
“Again, I think Nigeria has just started doing what she ought to have done long ago. It is also common knowledge that Nigeria is considered as the big brother of Africa and that is why people expect them to do what they are doing now”.
Another member from Burkina Faso, Mr. Alexandere Sankara, said he was in support of the call for Nigerian government to reopen it boarders.
“Yes, I support the call made by my colleagues from Ghana requesting for Nigeria to open borders between Benin Republic because it is really taken a toll on their economy. You recall also that the ECOWAS parliament took same decision in our last meeting in Liberia. It is very important because ECOWAS people want Nigeria to open the border.
The session was presided over by Mr. Mustapha Cisse from Senegal.