Border Closure: An Indictment On The Ineffectiveness Of Nigerian Custom Services
Nigeria is inarguably one of the most unique nations in the world, whether in a positive or negative light, depends on the angle you choose to see it from.
We have mastered the art of soothing our ego and enthroning inefficiencies by our mannerism in giving defences and explanation for our failure, both as an institution or as a nation.
In a discussion with a group last week, a comparison was made between Nigeria and Ghana, and instead of burying our head in shame, someone asked’ “what is the population of Ghana? A nation that is barely more populated than Lagos should be able to comport themselves due to their small size”, he opined.
I could not stomach such a lame defence, so I asked, “what about the United States of America?”
The other person got my drift and replied, “they will tell you it took America many years to get there”. And we all agreed that we have continually given ourselves excuses to maintain our failed and retrogressive tendencies as a people. Several issues that should ordinarily have put us on our toes, and make us fold our sleeves to work, are often defended with excuses that are as illogical as they are stupid. The reason for the closure of our borders is one of such.
Without delving into the economic implications (positive or negative) of our borders, the reason for the closure beats my imagination. It is even more worrisome when the decision to close the borders was taken without adequate punishment for those that failed to effectively carry out their constitutional duties.
Our borders are said to be one of the most porous in West Africa. The question is, why is it so?
Who made it porous?
What is the duty of custom officers?
What has been happening to the budgeted money for customs and other related security agencies saddled with the protection of our borders?
The last time I travelled into the country through Seme border, we were stopped at over fifteen checkpoints by security agencies, comprising of Customs, Police, NDLEA, NSCDC, ARMY, and IMMIGRATION, between the border and Ojoo barracks, in Lagos.
Is the government saying the border is still porous despite that intimidating security presence?
If yes, is it not a clear indictment of those saddled with the responsibility to man our borders?
Why were they not punished?
If they failed to do the needful before, what guarantees do we have that they will not fail again in ensuring the borders are really closed?
It can be likened to hiring a security guard to man your gate with clear instructions of what should not be allowed inside. And then after six months, you discover that these things still pass through the gate into your compound under the watch of the guard.
Now you decide to close the gate permanently, to make sure those things don’t get in, but the same security guard that failed before is still allowed to mount the closed gate.
Is there any wisdom in that?
Did we not learn any lesson from the great China wall?
But again, this is Nigeria. We revel in absurdities and do wrong things but ‘#prayerfully’ expect the right results.
As long as the people choose to remain docile, the leaders will continue to take them for a ride.
Borderclosure #Nationbuilding #Nigeria #Buhari #Customs #BilateralTrade #Ecowas
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.