By Sani Wilson Enemona
The Illela border has been reopened by the Nigerian Customs Service, (NIS), three weeks after the Federal Executive Council directed that it and three others be reopened for transit and commercial purposes.
The Area Controller of custom in charge of the Sokoto/Zamfara Command, Abdulhamid Ma’aji, who performed the reopening, had earlier at a meeting with residents of communities around Illela in Nigeria and Konni in Niger Republic, solicit their cooperation.
Ma’aji, while listing the operational guidelines for border operations, noted that with the opening of the border, economic activities would return to Illela and its environs.
He stated, “The closure of the border was because of abuse of protocols. What is now expected is adherence to rules and guidelines.
“Now that the border is opened for operation now, let me appeal to every residents of Illela and Kwani for their cooperation. I want to assure you that the Nigeria Customs Service and its sister agencies are ready to be professional in discharging our duties.
“Again let me use this opportunity to tell you that all items that are tagged as contraband still remain banned. Items like rice, groundnut oil and drugs, among others, still remain banned and will not be allowed to enter the country from this land border and I appeal for total cooperation.”
The command’s Technical Supervisor, DSC Babagana Shettima, listed the modalities for exportation and importation of goods.
He advised users of the land border to consult customs licensed agents in the aspect of regulations that were cumbersome for them.
The Sokoto State Chairman of Customs Licensed Agents, Alhaji Aminu Dan’Iya, mentioned that the reopening of the border was a big relief to the over 100 members, who were out of business for 16 months.
He further advised smugglers to engage licensed agents in their transactions for the sake of peace of mind, while the government would benefit from improved revenue for the nation.