By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
Illela border, Sokoto was yesterday reopened for business at exactly 12:40pm amidts jubilation in excitement by youths from across surrounding border communities as the Area Controller of Customs in charge of Sokoto and Zamfara states Abdulhameed Ma’aji urging compliance with import and export guidelines, rules and regulations as directed by government.
Illela border was among the four announced on 16 of December, 2020 for reopening. Others were Mfun, Maigatari and Seme.
Ma’aji who was assisted by the Governor of Konni, Niger republic said items on the list of import prohibition remain as it were.
He said the essence of closing the borders were basically due to abuse of cross border activities protocols and most importantly security related issues and other illegal activities.
” We have also decided to come up as a reminder with the fundamental optional guidelines in order to strengthen business activities.
” We are ready as always to grant the request of importers and exporters. I will also seize this opportunity to solicit public support and cooperation towards ensuring cordial working relations for the benefit of the country and its neighbour, Niger republic “, he assured.
Ma’aji had earlier visited the palace of the District Head of Illela, Alhaji Buhari Tukur Abdulrahaman and the Sarkin Konni in Niger republic to intimate them on his mission and solicited their community support and cooperation towards revenue generation and information on illicit cross border activities and perpetrators.
” NSC cannot do everything alone especially on vigilance against movement of illicit arms in view of the prevailing security situation in both countries of Nigeria and Niger republic.”
Also, on his part, the Nigerien Governor( Prefect)said the reopening of the border would further strengthen the bond of business relations and understanding between Nigeria and his country.
He said ” we will maintain the tie in the spirit of trust, respect for laws and diplomatic relations where our citizens will benefit from the kind decision of Nigerian government.”
Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma who spoke on behalf of Sokoto and Zamfara traders Association , expressed delight and assured of support and cooperation revenue generation and all other areas of compliance .
He explained that Illela border , Sokoto is one of the leading axis that generates much revenue for the federal government.
” We are ready to comply and pay duty on imported items without failure”, he said.
Accordingly, Alhaji Muhammad Musa, the Sarkin Alaro of Illela while hailing the government for reopening the border, recalled that over 30 of his people has been out of business for the period the border was closed.
He said ” they almost lost hope and their businesses had collapsed but with this development, we are happy and they will all go back to business in full swing.”
A Sokoto based clearing agent, Alhaji Aminu Dan Iya has assured of his people’s commitment to compliance with all protocols as it were .
Though, Dan Iya explained that during the border closure, cleaning agents went through disturbing moments due to stoppage of business.
” We have over 35 customs registered clearing agents on ground and top0day we are extremely glad to witness the reopening of Illela border”, he said.
Meanwhile, a cross section of border community residents were in joyous mood while in excitement over the resumption of cross border business activities.