A maritime expert, Prince Olusegun Ologbese has picked holes in the Federal Government policy to ban the importation of vehicles into the country through the land borders by January 1, 2017.
Ologbese who is a veteran licensed customs agent spoke on the heels of the recent ban which was announced by the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Adewale Adeniyi.
Confirming the ban, Adeniyi, an Assistant Comptroller, had in a statement said: “Importation of vehicles into Nigeria through the land borders have been banned by the Federal Government. The prohibition order covers all new and used vehicles. The ban is equal to a Presidential Directive restricting all vehicle imports to Nigeria to seaports only. The order takes effect from 1st January 2017. The restriction of importation of vehicles follows that of rice, whose imports have been banned through the land borders since April 2016. Importers of vehicles through the land borders are requested to utilise the grace period up till 31st December 2016 to clear their vehicle imports landed in neighbouring ports.”
But Ologbese who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ogbese Maritime International Limited argued that the ban will not only minimise vehicle smuggling across Nigerian land borders but also revive the operations of Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO) terminals in the country.
He warned those who did not know what governance is all about, particularly the issue that have to do with International community and our neighbours to have a rethink on their position on the matter.
His words: “There is no doubt that God has blessed us more than other countries but we cannot because of our stupidity, greediness and out-right corruption of our elected leaders reduces our country to ridicule. We must respect our status within the committee of nations. The position God placed us in the world today is enormous and that is the respect the world gives to us. It is not the fault of any country that instead of us using our position and resources to make us great, we squandered these resources and now come back to carry our vexations on our neighbours who God had created near us so that they could live very well.
“I have always said this. Something is wrong with our present selected managers of our economy. The other day, they decided that, rice is ban through our sea ports that all rice imports should come through the land border. It took some of us who knew that something was wrong or that some people might have bribed someone to take this questionable action. We went to the press to challenge the error, saying that the policy will affect our revenue negatively. We also we explained what we benefits from shipload that got to our territorial waters.
While arguing that the ban on vehicles importation through the land borders is good for our ports and country, he maintained that it is not good for our reputation since the international community will not be happy with it.
The maritime expert stated that the Republic of Benin will soon come to Nigeria to ask us for a reversal of the policy.
“We must always think deeply and thoroughly most especially with anything that concern the international community. I believe as they benefit from us, we too benefit from other countries. We cannot live in isolation. If it is to bring back the importers we drove away through our ignorance, primitive and greedy ideas, there are better ways to address it. Nigeria is a member of World Trade Organization (WTO). We must put many things into considerations in our policy formulation and implementation. I am sure Nigeria will overcome all these but we must be-careful not to tarnish our image and integrity because of the downturn in the economy”, he said.