This cargo company says Buhari’s border closure is killing businesses and putting thousands out of work

This cargo company says Buhari’s decision to close the nation's land borders will lead to job losses and is really bad for business.

President Muhammadu Buhari says smuggling of goods is killing local production [Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg]

Nigeria shut its land borders in August ostensibly to curb smuggling of rice and other goods, especially from Benin Republic. 

The move has not been a popular one however, and complaints from opposition elements and free market capitalists have been rife. 

“For Kobo360, the closing of Nigeria's land borders has seen a significant impact on our business and we have recorded a significant drop in customer demand by 28%. In order to fulfil our customers' cargo needs, we need borders and roads to be open and easy to traverse, to keep goods moving around the continent,” says Kobo 360 co-founder and CEO Obi Ozor.

Ozor adds that “We transport thousands of tons of goods across West Africa each year, much of our cargo is taken across borders. Using technology, we connect our clients with a fleet of over 10,000 drivers and trucks, in a seamless process. However, restricting land borders to all movement of goods, for an indefinite period will have a damaging effect on our business, on our clients' business, and thousands more. 

“Whilst we appreciate that the Nigerian Customs Service must take steps to curb cross-border smuggling, the actions taken are unfairly penalising tens of thousands of legitimate SMEs and corporations, who are the backbone of Nigeria's economy. 

“We hope to open dialogue with the Nigerian Customs Service, in order to collaborate, share ideas and essentially secure a solution that is a little more sympathetic to business. Let's keep Nigeria moving, let's continue to build out our economy in the region.”

President Buhari had said the closure of the country’s western border was effected to allow Nigeria’s security forces develop a strategy to curb smuggling from Benin.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd), also recently announced that the land borders will remain closed pending when Benin and other neighboring African countries stop taking Nigeria for a smuggling destination. 

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