Do you remember the chicken scarcity that plagued the country, to the extent that people couldn’t get chicken at the famous Chicken Republic? Following the closure of the country’s land borders, Nigerians saw formerly accessible goods become extremely scarce. Prices of products shot through the roof; making things extremely expensive and difficult to procure.
After a gruelling 16 months, President Muhammadu Buhari re-opened the land border at Seme, Illela, Maigatari, and Mfun. Nigeria’s finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, made this announcement at the end of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
“This committee was mandated to review and advise on the reopening of the Nigerian borders and after recommendations, the president approved the reopening of four land borders, namely: Seme in the South-west part of the country, Ilela in the North-west part of the country, Maitagari in the North-west part of the country and Mfun in the South-south part of the country.
“So, these four land borders will be reopened immediately while the remaining borders are directed to be reopened on or before 31st of December, 2020. Mr. President has also directed on the reopening of the borders that while others are being reopened, the ban on importation of rice, poultry and other banned products still subsists and will be implemented by border patrol team,” she said.
The borders were initially closed on the basis of curbing the ill of smuggling into the country. This decision to close borders was made hastily without already put in place provisions to cater to demands of the citizens of Africa’s most populous country. Nigeria suffered an economic recession, coupled with inflation; it was insensitive for the government to put the ban in place for as long as they did.
This new development is being tabled as a gift to Nigerians as the President on Thursday marked his 78th birthday, and the order comes just in time for Christmas. But this is a ban that should not have occurred in the first place, and for so long at that. Whether it even did anything to help ‘stop’ smuggling is yet to be determined, but for certain, it made life pretty challenging for Nigerians.
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
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