Border closure paralyses commercial activities in Katsina
Following the closure of Nigerian land borders nationwide by the federal government, commercial activities at the ever-busy Jibia/Niger Republic border in Katsina State have been paralysed.
The closure of the land borders, according to federal government was to stave off rising incidence of cross border banditry and smuggling bedeviling the country.
It was observed that the standoff has crippled business activities amidst lamentations from businessmen.
It was also observed that hundreds of businessmen and those travelling to Niger Republic were stranded at the border town (Jibia) with their goods worth millions of Naira.
Investigation by sources also revealed that travellers, including foreigners were stranded at the border as the Nigeria security operatives denied them entry into the country.
Businessmen, among them wholesale and retail shop owners, money changers, hoteliers, drivers, told our correspondent that they were incurring losses as a result of blocked traffic at the border.
A businessman, Sa’idu Sani, who was seen at the border stranded with his perishable goods, said that they were yet to be briefed on the rationale behind the closure of the border.
He said: “The closure of this border has affected everybody; even if you have your passports, you can’t go in or out of the border. As you can see all my goods have been damaged.
Another resident, Nazeefi Lawal, said: “We blame the federal government for not informing us before embarking on this exercise. We are calling on government at all levels to look into the matter again with a view to addressing the hardship that we are passing through.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) recently said it would join other security and intelligence gathering agencies to conduct a joint border security exercise, codenamed “Ex-Swift Response”.
According to a press statement by the National Public Relation Officer of the service, Joseph Attah, made available to newsmen, the operation was part of measures put in place by the government to secure Nigeria’s land and maritime borders from smuggling and other nefarious activities.
Apart from NCS, other agencies include the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), in collaboration with the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) as well as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), among other security and intelligence agencies.
It was gathered that the exercise had led to the closure of Nigerian borders to human movement, import and export between neighbouring countries.