Deputy Speaker tackles ECOWAS Parliamentarians on border closure

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

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The Deputy Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Ahmed Idris Wase has expressed displeasure over comments by some members of the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS Parliament over closure of border by Nigeria government, saying the decision was not aimed at oppressing the neighboring countries.

Responding to criticism of the border closure by Nigeria, Honourable Wase, who is the Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament said feelers from Nigeria’s neighbors since the closure of the borders, as well as the comments of members in the Parliament suggest sabotage in violation of the ECOWAS protocol on trade which states that “No country will allow what it does not produce to cross its borders into another country.”

The Deputy Speaker noted the socio-cultural similarities between Nigeria and her neighbors, saying that all within the sub-region are one and the same and should be brothers’ keepers to each other.

“Nigeria have a lot in common with all the countries that we share borders with, there is no difference between the person living in Jibia in Katsina and the person living along the side of Niger, is it the religion or the language they speak or the culture and tradition?

The same thing with a person leaving in border communities of Togo, where we have Yorubas, and in Cotonou, and I want to believe that we are one member nation.

My colleagues, what has been doled out to you may not be the correct perspective.” Wase said.

The Deputy Speaker also explained that the decision will make Nigeria self-sufficient which will improve its economy and that of its neighbors.

“First we have a protocol and the protocol is very clear, no country in the ECOWAS sub-region is allowed to export into another country what it does not produce, meaning, by our own actions, we want to be self-sufficient, we do not what to be dumping ground, we want to encourage local production.

We cannot sustain this any longer at this time, a situation where the so-called super powers of the world will produce, have it for a very long period of time, after a while, they use other African countries as conduits to take these things to our country. This is not acceptable to Nigeria and I believe as good citizens and MPs, we should encourage our people to become productive, the population we have in this country should not just be a number by size, but a number that can be helpful to the nations of Africa and to the world.” Alh. Wase said.

He called for understanding regarding the border closure, saying that Nigeria that has been there for her neighbors should also count on them to secure her economy, as well as territorial integrity, just as she won’t fold her arms and watch her efforts sabotaged.

“Mr. Speaker, my respected colleagues, I want to beg all of you to bring understanding to this matter. Nigeria has paid its dues and it is still paying its dues.

We have always been there for our neighbors in times of need. And I’m saddened by the comments of some of our colleagues here. We have been helping in virtually in every country in Africa, even by the contributions.

You can’t compare the contribution of Nigeria with any other country. I think the reason why we are lagging has to do with our budgetary system, which we are now battling to change the narrative regarding the cycle from the period of un-determined time, to January to December.

Mr. Speaker my respected colleagues, Nigeria have started seeing some changes in terms of security. These borders have not just been used for the purpose of conduit and I’m happy one of the MPs from the countries that are complaining said they are packaging beer using our people, should you use our people for crime, should that be allowed, are we not supposed to be our brothers keepers?

We have started developing agriculture in our country, we also want to be self-sufficient. Help us to stop these Illegality, because we will not allow people to cross our borders with the things that we can produce, ” Wase stressed.