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Friday, November 8, 2019

Border closure: Nigeria gets tough with ECOWAS, bans repackaged imported goods

PUNCH Nigeria. Tuesday, November 5, 2019
By Adelani Adepegba, Abuja

The Federal Government has listed five conditions for reopening of the country's land borders for
goods importation from neighbouring countries.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama
As one of the conditions, the Federal Government said Nigeria would not accept imported goods that were repackaged by neigbouring countries and brought to Nigeria.

It said the conditions which would be presented to Benin and Niger Republic in two weeks, must be met before the Nigerian land borders would be re-opened.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed this during the meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Temporary Partial Closure of Land Borders in Abuja on Monday.

He insisted that neighbouring countries must respect the Economic Community of West African States' 'rules of origin' if they must bring goods into the country.

The preconditions for both goods and humans coming into the country, however, applied to all ECOWAS member states.

Onyeama said that goods imported for the Nigerian market must be escorted directly from the port of member states to the nation's land borders.

Also at the meeting, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs, Col. Hamid Ali (retd), said the January 31, 2020 date for re-opening of the borders was not sacrosanct.

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, was also in attendance at the meeting which held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters, Abuja.

Explaining the conditions, the foreign affairs minister said Nigeria would no longer tolerate repackaging of goods coming into the country.

He said that any goods imported from ECOWAS member states must have the 30 per cent local input in line with the value addition percentage under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme.

These conditions, the minister said, would be presented to Benin and Niger Republic at a tripartite meeting scheduled for next two weeks in Nigeria.

He also said that the only travel document allowed for anybody coming into the country through the land borders is the passports, stressing that the country would not accept any other documents such as the identity card.

Onyeama said, "So we (Nigeria committee) met to look at the situation and we have agreed on a set of conditions. Now, these conditions are as follows:

"That it is an absolute requirement of the government of Nigeria that any import coming through our land borders, when those imports transit in goods, that is to say when they are coming from outside the ECOWAS region and imported into an ECOWAS member state, that those goods should retain their original packaging.

"There should be no modification whatsoever to the packaging of those goods imported into an ECOWAS member state destined for Nigeria."

He added, "They (goods) must be escorted from the port directly to the designated entry point in Nigeria border, so presented to Nigeria customs with the packaging intact and those goods escorted.

"This is an absolute condition that will not be compromised; So any transit in goods coming into this country from transiting ECOWAS member state must ensure that.

"For goods predominantly produced in ECOWAS member states, the rules of origin must be satisfied."

Nigeria can't be dumping ground, FG tells neigbouring countries

Onyeama noted that the conditions were aimed at ensuring that the country did not end up a dumping ground.

Besides, he noted that there must be a recognised proper transport system for the importation of goods into Nigeria.

The minister noted that President Muhammadu's Buhari's desire was for the underlying issues that informed the border closure and the security drill to be addressed as quickly as possible.

"So in this context within the next two weeks, a tripartite committee is to be convened and hosted here in Nigeria, comprising the delegation committee from Benin Republic, from Niger and from Nigeria.

"So each country will come with the heads of the ministries of foreign affairs, interior, finance, the customs, immigration and the National Intelligence Agency, the security segment. So this meeting will take place within the next two weeks," the minister said.

Speaking on the ETLS, the FG said the goods coming from outside ECOWAS must have at least 30 per cent value addition from the ECOWAS member states.

The minister stated, "So we would absolutely insist on the respect of ECOWAS rules of origin in ensuring that they actually did come from ECOWAS member states.

…to dismantle warehouses at borders

"We absolutely insist on dismantling of all the warehouses along our common borders with countries with which we have borders within a certain distance from the borders. No more warehouses and we will insist on them being dismantled.

"We would now insist on proper recognized packaging of those goods. No longer would we have goods of all shapes and sizes just going through the borders.

"We are going to have accepted conditions for the packaging of goods that would be transported by roads across our borders to maintain best practices in packaging of those goods."

On the movement of persons, he explained that the Federal Government would insist that all aliens coming into Nigeria through land borders must present themselves at recognized entry points with recognized travel documents.

"And as far as Nigeria is concerned, recognised travel document means officially passports," the minister pointed out.

He disclosed that the Customs CG would meet other countries outside the tripartite group (Nigeria, Benin, and Niger) about the steps and conditions for bringing goods into Nigeria.

He acknowledged the steps taken by both Niger and Benin Republic to address the issues around the border closure, adding that Ali was positive that an agreement would be reached with the two affected countries, stressing that, "once an agreement is reached, then we start implementing it."

"Then we would now agree on what would be the consequences if we do breach the agreement," he added.

On the reported January 31 date for reopening the borders, Ali said it was an operational deadline.

He noted, "So the issue of 31st January is not a terminal date. If all these things are put together and we reached an agreement, we could even relax these things before the 31st of January.

"So, it is not sacrosanct but it is not a terminal date, we can even surpass January 31st and still hold on to what we are doing."

On the fear of retaliation by neighbouring countries, especially Ghana, Ali dismissed this, stating that he had a fruitful discussion with the Ghanaian minister of trade who visited the country about three weeks ago.

"I am very sure that the Ghanian government is fully on top of the matter because they do understand and appreciate precisely what we are doing as a nation," the CG said.

NECA calls for comprehensive policy review

In a related development, the Nigeria Employers' Consultative Association has called on the Federal Government to address the fundamental challenges of smuggling and insecurity in the country.

Its Director-General, Mr Timothy Olawale, made the call on Monday in Lagos while reacting to the recent announcement to extend the closure of the country's land borders.

Olawale urged the government to take a broader look at the fundamentals of its assumptions that led to the decision to close the borders.

He said, "If the borders are safe and government enforces the bilateral and multilateral agreements it had signed with other countries, there will not be need to close the borders.

"Efforts should be stepped up to equip the customs to live up to their responsibilities of protecting the borders and nip smuggling in the bud, " he said.

The NECA official also urged government to ensure that the citizens' welfare and business prosperity were not sacrificed due to inefficiency in our border policing.

According to him, coordination of fiscal policies should be geared towards enterprise competitiveness, job creation and alleviating poverty against impoverishing the people by such policies of government.

"Despite the many merits that come with the border-closure, we are concerned that the policy comes without any palliative for legitimate local businesses which negates the attempts at alleviating poverty and reducing unemployment.

"The continuous closure also possesses the capacity to render many Nigerians jobless and hungry.

"The policy is more consistent with income generation and not in agreement with the harsh effect it has on households, businesses and investors' confidence in general.

"Since the advent of this policy, prices of goods, especially food items had increased tremendously, further making the average Nigerian vulnerable as 70 per cent of poor households budget is spent on food.

"Government's fiscal and monetary policies should focus on sustainable enterprise, job creation and rapid economic development premised on wide-range consultation with critical stakeholders, " Olawale said. (NAN)

Rice, poultry farmers back FG on continuous border closure

The Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Femi Oke, Lagos chapter, commended the Federal Government on the continuous closure of land borders.

Oke told NAN in Lagos that the closure had motivated farmers to carry out more production to meet the increasing demands, describing it as a good development.

He said that farmers would ensure that there was food security and also sufficiency because of the involvement of more people in farming.

Oke stated, "We are now coming to realise that it is very necessary for us to come back to agriculture. We discovered that most of the produce done outside the country was coming in illegally and this has encouraged most of our farmers to do more on our production."

Also, the immediate past chairman of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, Plateau Chapter, Mr John Dasar, told NAN that the closure of borders would boost poultry farming in the country.

Dasar stated, "The closure of our borders will enable Nigerians to consume what poultry farmers produce locally."

He noted that the closure would also ensure the consumption of more healthy poultry products, adding that most of the imported poultry products posed health hazards to Nigerians.

"Aside from the security challenges that the border closure seeks to address, I think for us poultry farmers, it is worthwhile and a step in the right direction.

"We are happy because it will promote poultry farming, boost the personal income of farmers and the revenue base of the country.

"Now, Nigerians can consume healthy poultry products.

"Just within a short period, the influx of imported products has reduced and the demand for our local poultry products, particularly eggs, has increased,'' Dasar said.

He, however, called on government to sensitise Nigerians the more, to better understand the rationale and benefit of its decision.

He also advised the government to be diplomatic in shutting down the borders, adding that international trade remained a key means of improving the foreign exchange of the country.

Situation terrible, Ghana laments, seeks ECOWAS' intervention

Meanwhile, Ghana's Minister of Information on Monday, said ECOWAS must swiftly engage Nigeria on the issue of border closure.

A Ghanaian newspaper,, reported, Oppong Nkrumah, in an interview with journalists, lamented that the border closure was affecting Ghanaian traders.

According to the newspaper, Nkrumah called the situation 'a terrible one.' He said a delegation was dispatched to visit the Ghanaian traders who had had their goods locked up at the borders after Nigeria shut its borders in August.

He stated,"It is very important for ECOWAS as a bloc to engage Nigeria on the closure of the borders because moves like this have a way of negatively impacting the West African Economic Integration project," he cautioned.

According to him, both Ghana and Nigeria's cabinets are expected to meet between November 8 and 9, 2019 at the next ECOWAS summit to further address the issue.

The newspaper also reported on Monday that Ghanaian traders at Opera Square in Accra locked shops owned by foreigners in the country's capital.

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I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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