Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
The Federal Government has maintained that it could only reopen the borders when the committee set up by ECOWAS countries ensures that the ECOWAS treaty is obeyed to the letter.
During a joint media interaction between the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, and the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagun, the duo explained that the ECOWAS treaty said imported goods through the region needed to be escorted into the benefiting country to ensure that illegal items were not among the imports.
According to them, illegal items like arms and other banned items were repackaged and ferried to Nigeria, which is a breach of the ECOWAS treaty.
Amb. Katagum, who is a member of the ECOWAS committee, explained that they were in Jibia, a border town in the northern part of the country, and discovered that in a small town like it, there were more than 100 filling stations littered all over the place at the border town which indicated that the products were being smuggled across the border.
She called on the media to engage the community people in interactions and tell them that smuggling should not be a business for the people. Katagum stated that she is in touch with Jaiz Bank which she says it is conducting intervention programmes for women in the area and also seeking the assistance of SMEDAN.
“ We are checking our exclusive list which contain our findings that we would submit to the ECOWAS secretariat”, she said.
Furthermore, Adebayo said the ministry is encouraging made in Nigeria goods as started by the last administration in the ministry but wants to avoid pitfalls.
On industrial revolution of the ministry, the Minister said, they were focusing on textile/garment production, Tomato Paste, Cassava and cotton among others. Throwing light on the Auto policy of the Federal Government, Adeniyi disclosed that there would be a stakeholders summit in January to prepare the policy.