Border closure: January 31 not sacrosanct ― Ali

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali( rtd), has said January 31, 2020, which was given as the likely date for the reopening of the nation’s borders is not sacrosanct.

He made the clarification on Monday in Abuja at the Third Inter-Ministerial meeting ahead of the Tripartite Anti-Smuggling Committee meeting to be held between Nigeria, Benin and Niger Republics.

In attendance were Colonel Ali, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, the host and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, among others.

The Comptroller-General of Customs said the date could be extended if the nation’s neighbours failed to meet conditions set by Nigeria.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, however, maintained that member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), must abide by conditions set by Nigeria.

According to him: “One of the conditions was that goods imported primarily for the Nigerian market must be escorted directly from the port of member states directly into the Nigerian borders.”

Ambassador Onyeama said a meeting would be hosted in Abuja where the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would be sealed between his Ministry and his counterparts from the neighbouring states.

He further insisted that goods produced by ECOWAS member states must show clear deference to the Rules of Origin.

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