23 November 2018

Nigeria: Seme, Togo Border Posts to Get EU's Cargo Scanners

Following the commitments made by technical and trade partners, the European Union (EU), at the commissioning of the Seme and Togo border posts last month, the borders are expected to take delivery of two cargo scanners hopefully before the end of the year.

The Guardian learnt that the soon-to-be-deployed scanners are expected to aid trade facilitation along the West African corridors.

The Guardian gathered the scanners are already being stacked at the Cotonou port and may be deployed any moment from now. It will be allocated to the Togo and Benin Republic borders.

Recall that President Mohammadu Buhari had in October this year inaugurated new Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), border posts at Seme.

The Seme-Krake border is one of the busiest boundary lines not only in West Africa but the whole continent, recording huge movement of persons, goods and services daily. Ghana-Togo Joint border post was also commissioned same month.

Controller, Seme Command of the NCS, Mohammed Garba confirmed to The Guardian that the "facilities are already imported and currently lying at Cotonou port".

Garba reiterated that the modern border post would boost international trade across boarders strengthen trade relationship between Nigeria and its neighbouring countries.

He said: "It (the new border post) will improve on our revenue generation by way of exchange of information, sensitization and we will be working together with the Benin counterpart. I can assure you the illegal trade will be minimised to the barest minimum,"

Garba, who was highly optimistic that the facility would enhance their operations said: "Everything here is provided by the EU, including the chairs. The scanners and other electronics will alsobe provided by them. Already, Two scanners have arrived. They are in Cotonou port."

He said the NCS still operates its existing scanner at the border, but noted that any good can be subjected to 100 per cent examination at any point in time, as the Customs deemed fit, especially as regards the nature of such goods.

He said the officers are yet to fully move to the new facility, as some facilities, such as the Information Communication Technology (ICT) among others are yet to be fixed.

The customs building will be occupied by Nigeria and Benin officers.

Movement of goods and persons are now allowed through the new facility.

President Buhari had said the border post, which sits on 17 hectares of land, would enhance trade facilitation by combining border clearance activities in a single location, increase cooperation and coordination of controls, in addition to fostering data and intelligence sharing between Nigeria and Benin Republic.

"The Border Post is strategically important and lies on the Lagos-Cotonou-Lome-Accra-Abidjan corridor, which accounts for about 70% of the entire transit traffic in the sub-region."

He enjoined the joint committee with membership from Nigeria and Benin to ensure that border officials are sensitized on the mode of operation of the joint border post concept, which is a big departure from the traditional mode of operation.

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