Traders in major markets in Lagos State are lamenting the closure of the Nigeria-Benin Republic border without advance information.
According to them, the action is punitive because a lot of them who are doing legitimate businesses now have their containers stranded at the border.
They said that one of the main reasons smuggling is flourishing was because of the over-congestion of the Apapa wharf.
They said that because of the congestion some containers stay up to six months in the wharf before being cleared, adding that in order to avoid that long delay some people resort to desperate measures which include smuggling.
They said that if the ports that are moribund in the other parts of the country could be opened, it would go a very long way in reducing smuggling.
Mr Sokwue Augustine, principal partner of Sokwue, Sokwue and Co and also chairman of Zamfara Plaza, Balogun Business Association, Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Lagos, Badagry Expressway, noted that closing the border without pre-notice was totally wrong.
Sokwue who is also the legal adviser, Arbitration, Mediation and Reconciliation in the complex said that there are legitimate businesses going on along the corridors of ECOWAS region and as such the Nigerian government must not paint everybody with the same brush.
He insisted that any country in the ECOWAS region has the right to import goods from any neighbouring country once the import duties are paid.
However, he said that the congestion in Apapa Port is the main reason smuggling is going on across the border.
He said that if the Federal Government can develop ports in the Southeast part of the country and make the ones in the South-south functional, smuggling would be reduced to the barest minimum.
“I am in full support of checkmating the smuggling of rice because it would boost our local production, increase our internally generated revenue and create employment. But the measure must be made to work and not the situation whereby law enforcement agencies would take advantage of it and be exploiting businessmen. This is because even now that the border is closed, rice is still coming into the country. Last time I went to Badagry high court, I was in a commercial bus and I saw security agencies collecting bribe from people smuggling rice and allowing them to pass,” he said.
In his contribution, Mike Nwafor, a trader at Alaba International market, said that a lot of their customers come from Niger Republic, adding that it is wrong to close the border because of a single item.
He said that the waybill some of the traders did for their customers who are in Ghana, Togo and other ECOWAS countries are stranded at the border because of the closure.
According to him, the government should not feel that every good that is coming in through the border is illegal.
He also appealed to the Federal Government to develop ports in the eastern parts of the country so as to ease the congestion in Apapa Port.
Irukka emerges Presonus Africa`s sole distributor
Irukka Online Limited, the owners of Nigeria`s biggest music mall, has emerged the preferred distributor of America`s Presonous audio electronics brand of musical equipment.
Presonus is an American manufacturer of professional audio equipment and software system that is used to create, record, mix and master music and other audio.
A statement from the company stated that the choice was based on Irukka Online Limited integrity and marketing ability.
According to the statement, with a population of over two hundred million people, the marketing potentials in Nigeria is overwhelming.
The group said that after thorough investigation, it realised that Irukka Online Limited has the capacity and competence to popularise presonus equipment and take them to the top.
Reacting to the development, the Chairman of Irukka Online Ltd, Ifeanyi Onwubiko said that he was happy that his company was selected as the sole distributor of Presonus equipment in Africa.
According to him, Irukka Online Limited has over the years built integrity by selling high quality musical equipment and as such is selective of the brands it accepts.
He said that presonus is currently one of the best in the world in producing digital software musical equipment.
He said that with 76 in-put channel, 33 touch sensitive motorized faders, 43 mix buses, 526 simultaneous processors, 128 recording over, USB and many more exciting features, the presonus digital console is everything anybody can ever ask for in musical equipment.
He said that apart from being produced with cutting edge technology presonus equipment is also Nigerian climate friendly and as such durability is guaranteed.
Erosion menace: Traders raise alarm
…Say over 1,000 stalls exposed to danger at Nkwo Nnewi market
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Nkwo Nnewi market traders in Anambra State have raised the alarm that if the state government does not take urgent measures to save them from a fast advancing erosion menace to their stalls, victims would be their next name.
One of the market leaders, Hon Kadife Damian in charge of Zone 17 under New Auto Spare Parts Association (NASPA) said that when the erosion menace started at 100 Foot Road, traders took photos of the site and posted them on Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms to draw the government attention to it.
He said that the menace became more worrisome after heavy rains few days ago in the industrial community, which he explained aggravated the situation.
He regretted that despite those efforts, no attention was given “and now it has become a giant project to behold.”
He said that the traders were so much apprehensive now that one could come to market one day only to see his stall eroded and washed down into the ditch.
“It has been a long time the erosion started. And we have been shouting and pleading occasionally for help from government because we know what it will result into, if nothing is done about it and urgently too.
“Very soon if that building which is about to be swallowed is gone, there will be nothing again to stop the erosion from entering the market. If that happens, many of our customers will look for a safe market to do their business,” he said.
He noted that the government and the member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency, Hon Chris Azubogu knew about the erosion “and we are pleading to them not to waste further time to come to our rescue.”
Southeast traders groan over closure of Enugu airport
…Argue repairs could be done in 60 days than 90 days
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
The South East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (S.E.A.M.A.T.A) said it received with rude shock what it called devastating news of the closure of Akanu Ibiam InterAnational Airport, Enugu, first, indefinitely and later for 90 days.
President of the association, Chief Gozie Akudolu noted that it was a public knowledge that the all-important airport remained the gateway of his members to their business destinations, especially outside the country.
He said that the proximity of the airport to his members’ business locations, with the security situation in the country today, could not be over-emphasised.
“It will be recalled that the first international flight from this airport in 2013, had our members making up over 85 per cent of the passengers on board of that inaugural flight.
“Much as the reason for the closure of the airport is to fix the failed portions of the airport runway, that will guarantee the safety of the passengers and the aircraft, it is our considered opinion that this could be effectively and efficiently achieved within less than 60 days, “ he contended.
He said the association, therefore, called on all relevant authorities to professionally establish the cause of the failure of the runway within a short time of its construction for a lasting solution, considering the inconveniences the closure of the airport had caused the teeming passengers and the huge revenue loss to the government.
“This association most humbly and respectfully call on the Federal Government to please review the period of closure of this airport to sixty days.
“The traders in the Southeast shall remain the worst affected while the closure of this airport lasted, more so, as we approach the end of the year with its attendant rise in tempo of business activities, “ he argued.