Too Many Police Checkpoints Threaten Nigeria, Benin Trade Agreement – AMJON

Investigations have revealed that Nigeria police is responsible for mounting of 30 out of the 52 checkpoints along Badagry and Seme border corridor.

The remaining twenty other checkpoints are mounted by different government agencies like Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Plant Quarantine Service, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Customs Service, among others.

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Recall that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) recently had a Memorandum of Understanding with Customs Administration of Benin Republic on seamless trade facilitation between the two countries.

The MoU is principally to facilitate ease of doing business between the Nigeria/Benin trade corridor

The strategy involves clearing of Nigerian bound goods in Benin and only move across the border without delay and vice versa

Similar MoU was signed with Benin during the administration of Hameed Alli as Customs Comptroller General but was frustrated because of stifling of movement of goods at numerous checkpoints that did not conform to the terms of the trade agreement.

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The Inspector General of Police had raided the axis about a month ago and some policemen arrested but the menace has since resurfaced

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has four checkpoints within the axis, Nigerian Army, two, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), two, Nigerian Plant Quarantine Service, two, Federal Road Safety Corps

Benin Republic had complained about the development while signing the MoU saying that the illegal road blocks would be a clog to the smooth running of the trade agreement between the two nations.

In view of the recent agreement with the neighbouring country, the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) is calling on the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi to as a matter of urgency, to seek the intervention of the Inspector General for the new trade agreement to achieve its aim.

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The synergy is necessary so that the failure if any of the agreement would not be blamed on the Service because many people believe that it is Customs that usually hamper trade through numerous checkpoints along the border community

Again Nigeria, through the NCS is making inroad into another lofty revenue trajectory that will build trade and revenue generation for both Countries.

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It is imperative to note that the greatest hindrance to this feat is the multiple Extortion points mostly mounted by the Nigeria Police, along the Nigeria- Benin- Abijan corridor.

It behoves on the Inspector General of Police of Nigeria to muster political will to dismantle this monster by his officers and men as an albatross against the trade MoU.

Nigeria is the only country in the world that you has over eight checkpoints within a kilometer.

Without exaggeration, between Badagry Roundabout and before Gbaji bridge, less than two kilometers, one will find between eight and ten checkpoints. After the Gbaji bridge, less than one kilometre, one will find between 12 to 15 checkpoints on both sides. What else can be embarrassing for a country?

In view of the recent agreement with the Benin Republic, the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) is calling on the Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi to as a matter of urgency, seek the intervention of the Inspector General of Police and other sister agencies who have turned the Badagry-Seme border route to extortions haven to desist from for the new trade agreement to achieve its aim.

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The synergy is necessary as being expected to benefit both countries especially in the areas of bilateral trade and revenue generation. If the NCS is able to do away with the multiple checkpoints, the Service will have renewed the hope of international trade partners, importers, exporters and investors in the international trade chain.

Joshua Okoria

Joshua Okoria is a Lagos based multi-skilled journalist covering the maritime industry. His ICT and graphic design skills makes him a resourceful person in any modern newsroom. He read mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University and has sharpened his knowledge in media practice from several other short courses. 07030562600,

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