The Federal Government has been urged to extend the border closure to livestock and refined petroleum products from other countries to Nigeria.
The admonition came from the Delta State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chieftain, Chief Sunny Onuesoke in a statement made available to Tribune Online on Tuesday.
He advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to extend the border closure to restriction of movement of livestock and refined petroleum products from other countries to the country.
He said if this was done, it would encourage Nigerian livestock rearers and refineries to produce more and, as well, conserve the nation’s foreign exchange.
Onuesoke commended President Muhammadu Buhari ‘s government over the closure of the land border with neighbouring countries.
He, however, pointed out that the action and benefits expected from it would not be fully realised if livestock like cattle, sheep, goats and finished petroleum products, among others, were allowed into the country.
The PDP Chieftain disclosed that it was disappointing that while the Nigerian Customs Service has been vociferous and active about the seizure of rice, dairy products and other goods, it has not made mention of intercepted of cattle, sheep or goats that are moved across the border by nomadic.
“It has been on record that cattle are moved from Chad, Niger and Mali into Nigeria territories by herdsmen either in search of green grass or for sale to Nigerian consumers.
“But it is unfortunate that since the border closure nothing has been said about the movement of this livestock. Does it mean that they are exempted from the border closure policy?
“Nigeria will want to hear that hundred of cows that are being imported into the country are intercepted by the Customs. Rather we hear of only rice, chickens, turkey or fairly used clothes.
“The Customs should allow the policy to affect all products. What is worth doing at all, is worth doing well,” Onuesoke posited.
He alleged that there were ongoing rumours that despite the border closure, foreign rice is still being imported into Nigeria through the Northern parts of the country.
“There is a video trending online of vehicles load of rice allegedly being escorted into Nigeria to the Northern part of the country by security men.
“Besides, Nigerian Tribune recently reported that despite the ban of rice two months ago, foreign rice still floods Sokoto markets.
“Customs should investigate these allegations and if it is true, they should try as much as possible to block these loopholes.
“They should not make Nigerians feel that the border closure is made for only one side of the nation,” he disclosed.
Onuesoke, who said finished petroleum products should be banned from entering the country, advised the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to fix the ailing refineries to the extent of producing all of the nation’s petroleum needs.
“If this is not possible, NNPC should be closed down and let’s focus on imported products.
“NNPC should be given an ultimatum of three months to fix our refineries to make sure we stop the importation of finished products,” he insisted.