Border closure

OlusesanLaoye

Controversies are  still trailing the forceful  open of the Idiroko border  in Ogun State, South West of Nigeria by some angry  youths, who claimed to be part of the groups agitating for  the self determination  of  the Yoruba to have Oduduwa Republic.

The youths in their hundreds while protesting  to show the seriousness  of their agitations,  stormed the Idiroko border,  which is one of the most active popular borders in the Southwest to the  Benin Republic.

The youths  who felt the closure of the border has been affecting the business activities  of the people in Yoruba land,  argued that the present Government of President MuhammaduBuhari closed  the border, as part of the agenda of the North, to cripple the the economy òf the people in the the South  west Nigeria, while business activities are still booming  at the Nigerian borders in the North.

The federal govenment had  since 2019 announced the closures of all the borders in Nigerìa, on the grounds  of security, curbing illegal smuggling  of goods to bring more revenue  to the coffers  of govenment and to streamline  exportation and importations of goods  through the land borders.

It was ordered  that any goods that will be coming to Nigerìa should come through the seaports’ but the arguement of the Yoruba self determination  youths was that the issue of the sea port was applicable to the South alone where  there  are ports and not the North where there are no ports and which they believed  has  made the closure  one sided. They also  believed  that normal business activities are still going  on at the Northern borders.

This they claimed,  informed their resolve  to forcefully opened the border,  claiming that Yoruba Nation has come to stay and they can not watch their people suffer because  the closure has grounded commercial activites at the South West borders.

It was observed that within  the two days that the  youths chased the customs and imigrationn officers away from their border posts,  there were  jubilation  among the traders who claimed that they have suffered a lot, since the border was closed to commercial activites  in 2019.

The traders in the area expressed  joy as they appealed to the federal government to restore normalcy  and restoration of business  activities  to the border  towns.

However, their jubilation  was short lived as the security operatives launched a severe  attack to repel the protesting youths, who forcefully  opened  the border.

Although they were repelled  at Idiroko, they informed journalists  that the exercise would be a continuous  one and they would from time to time, move from one border  to the other  in the South West. “Because  Yoruba nation is  no more  part of Nigeria and we are ready for anything  they want to do”.

One of those who believed that the federal govenment  was not fair to the people of the South west, MrDeboAkingbade, said they were disappointed  for the continued  closure  of the border  because  the IdirokoSeme border used to serve people from Togo Benin añd Ghana.  He argued  that because of the movements  of goods commercial  activities were booming  but since the closure of the border’ ” we now have everything  grounded. Our  school are closed, petrol Stations closed, only few traders  now come to the market, taxi drivers have nothing  to do as before  and nothing  is moving”
Some of the traders who spoke appealed to the federal government  to permanently  reopen the borders.

The customs  Public Reĺation Officer for Ogun1 Area Command, Hammed Oloyede said that the customs and other security  operatives  were able to bring the situation back  to normal after  repelling  the angry  youths who seized the border.

He said “there was  no attacks  on our patrol points ad the youths were just doing.g their own thing”
He pointed out that the customs are now at alert and would not allow anyone  to cause break down of law and order.

But Sunday Adeyemo alias Sunday  Igboho who spoke on the incident said that the Federal government of Nigeria just closed the border  to punish the people of the South West because  all the borders in the North are operational.

He argued that the closure “is part of the war the government of the North is fighting with  us in the West añd.the entire South.”

He went on, “when they started fighting and killing our farmers we never knew their game plan, it was later that we discovered  that they were doing that to destroy  our crops so that we won’t be able to farm  and depend on their own products. But we were able to repel them and that was why we drove the Fulanis out of our land.”

“What the boys did was just to show the Fulani led government that enough  is enough  and it would be a continuous action.
We can’t  just imagine the borders  here  in Yoruba ĺand being closed to shot down our economy, whereas  business is going g on as usual in all the borders  in the North. That is why we are saying let them be on their  own and we shall be on our own and develop on our own.”

Although Sunday  Igboho who is a strong agitator for the actualisation  of Oduduwa  nation, was in support  of the youths action for the forceful opening of the border, the group under the umbrella  which Sunday is using to promote the self determination  agenda of the Yoruba  nation, the IlanaEgbeOmoOdua led by Professor  BanjiAkintoye has condemned  their actions.

The communications  officer of the group  Mr Maxwell Adeleye has said that the IlanaEgbeOmoOdua did not know those who carry out the act.

According  to him,  the group led by Professor Akintoye  “is known for its peaceful  approach towards  achieving our  aim of seĺf determination  for the Yoruba race.”

He argued, “We would never approve of violence in pursuing our goals and the security  operatives  know us for this.We do what is lawful without violence”

It will be recalled that the comptroller of customs Çol Hammed Ibrahim Alli (rtd) while closing the borders  said that it was meant  to improve the revenues of Nigeria and to curb the activities of smugglers  and as well curtail  criminal activities at the borders.

But in his own point of view  the Señatòr.Reprepsenting Ogun West  Senatorìal District, SenatòrTolulopeOdebiyi whose father  Jonathan Odebiyi was the minority leader in the second Republic Senate, under the Unity Party of Nigeria  (UPN),  said the Federal government should reconsider  its stand and open the border.

He argued that the closure has affected  the people of the state  and those living at the border  towns.

He pointed out that the government should consider the proximity of the border in his senatorial district  to the manufacturers  in Ogun State,  who would want to import  their products to other west African  countries like Togo, Ghaña’ Serìalone and even the Republic of Benin.

According  to him, these industries  in Agbara, Sango Otta and Badagy in Lagos State are  really complaining  since the borders  have been closed in 2019

“We are appealing to the government  to open the borders  for businesses  to strive .
We do not support  the forceful opening of the  Idiroko border  and we hope the Federal government would consider  the plights of  people who do legitimate business  to open the borders”

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