The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has attributed the continued closure of Nigeria’s border with the Niger Republic at Jibia, Katsina State, to a lack of residents’ compliance with the protocol involved in the transit of goods and trade facilitation.
The NCS explained that the Jibia border and other borders in the state would remain closed by the federal government until residents of the border communities and traders adhere to the protocol of transiting goods and trade facilitation.
The acting Comptroller of the Katsina Area Command of the NCS, Dalha Wada Chedi, told journalists after a meeting between NCS and the community consultative forum held at the command headquarters in Katsina, that the level of compliance with border rules in the state is poor.
Participants at the meeting, who were drawn from traditional and religious institutions, traders’ associations, civil society organisations (CSOs), human rights organisations, government officials and residents of border communities, resolved to avert skirmishes between the NCS personnel and residents to boost economic development.
Chedi explained that the inability of the citizens to comply with the ease of doing business and guidelines issued by the federal government for reopening of borders has made it cumbersome for the government to open the borders despite their economic benefits.
He said: “The compliance level in Katsina is very poor and this makes it difficult for the federal government to consider Katsina in terms of reopening its borders. That is why it is difficult for the government to reopen the borders despite their economic benefits.
“Jibia border, in particular, is highly volatile because people, including smugglers, are inciting the public against the customs officials in the state.”
He said the NCS and other security agencies in the state are working in synergy to forestall bandits and other criminal activities within the border communities.
He, however, announced the seizure of 1,000 jerricans of fuel suspected to be on their way to the bandits in their enclaves in adjoining forests in the state.
He added that the command also intercepted 11 vehicles, as well as other contraband with duty paid value of N50,665,860.00 in border communities across the state.
He said the items seized included 187 bags of foreign rice, 24 jerricans of vegetable oil, 549 cartons of foreign spaghetti, 29 cartons of Macaroni, 12 cartons of foreign teapots, 236 packs of foreign black tea, 84 jerricans of petrol.
Other contraband, he said, were 14 motorcycles, 205 USB chargers, 350 bags of beans and seven bags of Tigger nuts, totalling N50,665,860.00.