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Lawmaker lists gains of borders closure, seeks 2yrs extension

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The Senate Chamber

Lawmaker representing Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency of Enugu State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Simon Chukwuemeka Atigwe, has urged the federal government to sustain the closure of Nigeria land borders for more than two years, to enable Nigerians reap the benefits therein.

Speaking with journalists over the weekend in Abuja, he explained that the closure was the best policy so far put in place by President Muhammadu Buhari

According to him, “apart from helping to checkmate the influx of arms and criminal elements causing insecurity in the country, the borders closure would compel Nigerians to resort to agriculture because those in farming business would have value for their labour.”

“Personally, I think that is the best decision so far taken by the President as far as the economy of Nigeria is concerned because you don’t just allow your country to be flooded with goods from other countries, making your own citizens very lazy; making them consumers only and not producers.

“I think it doesn’t help anybody saying that borders should be opened to importers anyhow while smuggling goes on uncontrolled. Apart from making us lazy, we are still losing income; we are losing revenue because all these people smuggling goods through road borders are not paying anything.

“But if things should be coming in through the ports like the airports and the seaports, then there will be scrutiny of all the things coming in. Apart from the revenue, you also safeguard your people because these smugglers bring in arms and ammunition and all sorts of dangerous weapons that all these bandits are using; and you can’t track it because they come in through all corners of the borders. So, I support the border closures 100 percent.

“China is doing well today because of what they did. China at a time closed all their borders, I think for 50 years or so. They had no contact with anybody. They stayed within and started producing all the things they needed. Today, China is one of the leading economies of the world.

“So, if we can allow this border closure to go beyond two years, I assure you, we will produce everything we need in Nigeria, and save our economy, save our forest and all that. You will see our economy booming again even though it might be biting for now as you said. By the time we get it right now, everybody will be happy. So, I support the border closure,” he stressed.

Atigwe also maintained that restructuring remains the best way to develop the country, saying it would force every region or zone to make use of their resources.

The lawmaker noted that “as it is now, with this amorphous nature, nothing serious can be done because everybody will just be calculating how many barrels of oil per day are being produced and how much is the cost of crude oil in the international market and how much is realised for sharing.”

He said there’s nothing to fear about restructuring by any region, explaining that it would make regions semi-autonomous on a special arrangement that would enable them take care of their resources with certain percentage of returns to the government at the centre.

“At the beginning, we had regions, and they depended solely on agriculture. The West had their cocoa; the East had their palm oil, and the North had their groundnut. They were using these products to build universities, roads and other infrastructures.

“There was no oil then. The resources we have not tapped in this country are more than what we are tapping,” he stressed, citing the example of gold in Zamfara and oil in Bauchi States, among others.

The lawmaker insisted that restructuring would create competition among various regions by way trying to explore resources available in their territories for development and to better the lots of their people.

 

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