By Eric Elezuo
The former President of Ghana, Dr. John Dramani Mahama has come hard on the Nigerian government, calling on the immediate reopening of the the borders, which were closed a few months ago.
Mahama made the call while speaking as the guest speaker at the 7th Anniversary Lecture of Realnews magazine held at the Sheraton Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.
He said: “In Nigeria, the unilateral closure of the borders since August is a worrying development for the growth of free trade in the ECOWAS sub-region. Off course, one can understand the harmful effects of unbridled smuggling goods on the growth of local production. But it is problematic that sub-regional economic activity and trade should suffer because of domestic institutional weaknesses.
“Nigeria must invest in strengthening its institutions and systems that are responsible for preventing the importation of illegal or prohibited goods
“The total closure of, especially, the Benin border is having a significant toll on many small and medium businesses especially in Togo, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire that rely on this inter-country trade. I am sure that
businesses in Nigeria that rely on supplies from these countries are also suffering.
“With the signing of the joint border task force agreement between Nigeria and her neighbours, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to Nigeria to open up her border so that economic activities can resume.
“As the largest economy in West Africa, I believe it is not by accident that Nigeria is home to the headquarters of the Economic Community of West Africa States. The import of the following quote from the objective principles for establishment of ECOWAS cannot be lost on us.”