- Human rights activist, Femi Falana, says the policy on border closure was not properly taken because it is punishment to the people
- Falana recalls how former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, resolved the issue during his time
The senior lawyer argues that border closure has not stopped smuggling as those engaged in it have devised other means
A senior lawyer in Nigeria, Femi Fanala, has described the federal government's continued border closure as punishment for the millions of citizens of Nigeria.
Falana added that the government was given an erroneous belief that shutting the borders is the only strategy to guarantee food security and develop Nigeria.
The senior advocate, who spoke to journalists in Ilawe-Ekiti during an event, said the decision to close the borders indefinitely was wrong as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari did not consider the pains it would bring upon the people.
The human rights activist said he does not support the policy because "it is illegal, immoral and economically senseless. It cannot be defended under the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons and goods.
"Punishing millions of community citizens for the offence of a few smugglers is immoral. Contrary to the claim of the federal government that smuggling has stopped the criminals involved in the nefarious trade have merely changed tactics," the lawyer lamented.
Falana recalled how the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo closed land borders between Nigeria and the Benin Republic for about a week when smuggling along the routes was going out of hand.
He, however, said that Obasanjo took the decision after his government investigated and discovered that one Ahmadu Tijanni, a highly influential citizen of Niger Republic based in Cotonou was the mastermind of the trans-border crimes.
He was arrested later in Nigeria despite being a sacred cow in Benin Republic. He said the suspect was tried, found guilty and sent to prison for armed robbery by the Ogun state high court.
He said since Benin Republic is not cooperating with Nigeria, the federal government ought to report President Patrice Talon for using a private company to manage its customs affairs as the only way to end smuggling instead of only closing the borders.
Legit.ng earlier reported that despite calls for the reopening of land borders, President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration has not decided on the time when the ban would be lifted.
Buhari noted that his administration is using the opportunity to rekindle the agriculture sector.
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