The partial closure of Nigerian land borders, since August has had far reaching effect on Ghanaian traders.
The reasons advanced by Nigeria for the action, has been not just smuggling of diverse products, especially rice, across its borders, but also cross border banditry and other forms of criminality.
The exercise, code-named, ‘Ex-Swift Response’, when it was first announced was supposed to last for 28 days, but it is in the third month now and no one knows when the borders will be re-opened.
The situation has been exacerbated with the announcement last week by Nigeria’s Controller-General, NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) of an indefinite ban on the importation and exportation of goods through land borders.
According to him “ All goods, whether licit or illicit, are banned from going and coming into Nigeria through those routes and that importers of such goods should go through controlled boarders where the Customs have scanners to verify the goods and how healthy they are to the people”.
As a newspaper commend so far, the efforts of the minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.
Through her relentless efforts, goods of Ghanaian traders trapped on transit in Benin, have been allowed temporary passage.
Based on the arrangement, reached between her and her Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, Ghana is expected to provide necessary information on her companies that do business in Nigeria and the goods involved.
We believe that, the Nigerian example should jettison Ghanaian leaders into action. Our borders over the year have been very porous.
Smuggling of goods and services, is not only limited to Nigeria, Ghana have had it fair share. Cocoa, as well as fuel in times past, has been smuggled to neighboring Ivory Coast.
The latest to have caught the attention of authourities is the smuggling of fertilizer, which is meant for Planting for Food and Jobs.
So Ghana, can take a cue from Nigeria and tighten its land borders.