The Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN), has lauded the Federal Government for reopening four of the country’s land borders, saying the action testified to the administration’s priority for the welfare and security of citizens.
President of the association, Amb. Ganiyu Lawal, expressed this thought in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
“The reopening of the borders is a commendable effort that shows that the government is listening and monitoring, and taking into consideration, the welfare and security of Nigerians.
“So, that accounted for the long wait to reopen the borders.
”Without getting a good grasps of the situation and having in place emergency operational response to whatever outcome to the opening, Nigeria will not have opened the border, until when we are in a safe position to do so.
”It is very commendable; we commend the government for being a listening and working government,” he said.
Lawal said Nigeria stood to benefit economically from the reopening of four of its major land borders, irrespective of the ban on the importation of rice and some other commodities, which is yet to be lifted.
NAN reports that the Federal Government, had on Dec. 16, approved the reopening of the Seme border in the South-West zone of the country, Mfun border in the South-South zone, Maitagari border in the North-West zone, and the Ilela border in the North-West zone.
The Federal Government had ordered the closure of the land borders on Feb. 22, 2019 ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, which were scheduled to hold on Feb. 23, 2019.
He urged the government to put security measures in place to check the movement of illegal immigrants across the borders to Nigeria.
“I think that is what the government has really done now, there has been an increase in surveillance, we have new aero-drones, and a lot of other inputs into our (security) architecture.
“We have also had a lot of intelligence gathering. All these put together gave the government the assurance that we can really open the borders and monitor activities within the borders.
“So we feel comfortable about that.
“Regarding the problem between Nigeria and Ghana (clashes between Ghanaian and Nigerian spare parts traders), this is a diplomatic issue, which diplomacy will always resolve,” he said.
He, however, expressed the hope that the reopening of the land borders would end the hostilities between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders in Ghana.
“All other rough edges will definitely be smoothened because the major factor that led to the skirmishes was closure of the borders.
“This was actually hurting Ghana and the country decided to do one or two things by making levies and taxes that were already in place more stringent.
“Ordinarily, what Nigeria should have done in terms of diplomacy was to reciprocate, but a lot of negotiations has taken place and that put us in a comfortable position to reopen the borders,” Lawal added. (NAN)