By Eguono Odjegba
THERE are indications that the Federal Government of Nigeria may have commenced moves to reverse the alleged distortions in the Benin-Nigeria cargo trans-shipment route arbitrarily restricted to the Seme-Krake Border by the government of the Republic of Benin.
This is coming against the background of realization that the skewed cargo movement has taken a toll on the revenue collection of the affected area commands of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, particularly the Ogun and Oyo/Osun Area Command.
Ogun Area Command’s Customs area controller, Compt. Michael Agbara, who dropped the hint confirmed that the development has negatively impacted on the revenue collection potential of the command.
In a chat with Vanguard Maritime Report relating to the command’s activities in the month of July 2019, Agbara explained that the continued exclusion of his command from participating in the trans-border trade arena has seriously reduced its revenue collection portfolio but expressed happiness that through the office of the comptroller general of the NCS, the matter was receiving presidential attention and would be resolved shortly.
He stated: “The command’s revenue collection has dwindled since February this year when the Republic of Benin prevented cargo from coming through Ogun command. The ban is still on and affecting our revenue. The bulk of our revenue collection comes from these trailers and trucks that carry general goods.
“Customs management has waded into the matter. It is not proper for a country to unilaterally alter trans-border movement of goods and say goods should go to a particular border. We are too big for that kind of thing. “Our Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ali, retired, has already briefed President Muhammadu Buhari and dialogue has commenced and soon it will be reversed.”
Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Transportation counterpart are believed to be involved in the parley towards returning to the previous cargo arrangement.