First Deputy Speaker of the Economic Community of West States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Ahmed Idris Wase, has mounted an emotional defense of his Country’s decision to close its borders to prevent damping of imported rice in Nigeria.
According to the first Deputy Speaker, Nigeria has seen changes in terms of security at its borders and would not allow the nation to be used as a conduit to dump foreign products in Africa.
The Deputy Speaker made this defence when the ECOWAS lawmakers resumed sitting on Wednesday November 27, 2019, to discuss matters in the sub-region including the Nigeria Seme Border issue.
Mr. Sadiq Ibrahim, a member of the Nigerian representation in ECOWAS parliament presented the Border situation report to the House.
However, after the report was presented, some members of the ECOWAS parliament questioned why Nigeria has taken the action to close the Border despite signing protocol on free movement of goods.
But Mr Ahmed Idris who is a member of the Nigeria representation in ECOWAS explained that his country Rep who tabled the report failed to highlight the issues that necessitated the closure of the Border and its positive impact on the Nigeria economy.
“Closure of the borders has also stop insurgence form carrying out their activities, again the practice where rice from ports that are over five years entering Nigeria has to stop at the same time arms being smuggled and hidden in the imported rice has sharply stopped”.
Again, if Nigeria should go into “disarray I do not think the whole of West Africa can contain us, we are closing the borders to put measures in place it is not forever”, he lamented.
The current administration in Nigeria has brought a lot of development, “we are doing a lot and we are going to do a lot for our country, please do not be the mouthpiece of those who want to bring down this government and Africa”.
“Let us bring sanity into our discussions, one questioner said a baby who would not allow its mother to sleep would not also sleep, why are we threatening ourselves, we are here as MPs to advocate not to threaten”, he emotionally put his case across to the community lawmakers.
Senator Sadiq Ibrahim in presenting the country report noted that as a result of the border drills, Nigeria has suffered some loss of its exports to the sub-region, in the first quarter of 2019 Nigeria’s export reached $17, 047,978.85, whiles in the second quarter of same year $12,868,042.21.
“However the third quarter, it dropped to $2,429,868,741.55 most of the smuggled goods are not part of the legal items captured under the ETLS, but rather imported from countries such as rice Thailand and Vietnam, who produce rice and are imported into Benin and finds its way to Nigeria”.
The aftermath of the security drills has to provide an avenue for jointly addressing the concerns raised by Nigeria in the framework of ETLS protocols and the free movement of persons in the region.
“A tripartite meeting between Nigeria, Benin and Niger have been held on Thursday 14th November 2019 in Abuja where all the irritants have been deliberated and revolved”.
He however assured colleagues lawmakers that, Nigeria would continue to work with the ECOWAS in achieving greater economic integration in line with the vision of “our founding fathers”.
The floor of the House became uncontrollable at a point in time when the first Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase could not bear the heat from his colleagues, following ninety-nine per cent of the questions asked were directed at Nigeria on the border closure.
The First Deputy Speaker further clarified that he wanted to use the question and peer review time to answers questions that were mounting in numbers against Nigeria, stressing that, “the issues are getting so much and I was thinking there is the need for Nigeria to give some answers”.
Meanwhile, Nigeria is yet to pay its 2018 ECOWAS Community levy
Senator Sadiq Ibrahim in presenting Nigeria’s country report on Wednesday the 27th of November 2019 pointed out that it would pay its 2018 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) community levy next month.
According to Sadiq Ibrahim as the council of Ministers meeting on 17th December 2019, he believed payment for last year would be made before the said meeting.
“As reported in May, this year Nigeria’s 2017 levy as deposited in December 2018 and was a total of $ 59, 898, 606.19”.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Abuja