Border closure: Our members’ jobs threatened, says Union leader

File: Nigerian Customs personnel:

File: Nigeria Customs men

The National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE) on Saturday said that the recent border closure by the Federal Government was threatening the jobs of its members.

Mr Goke Olatunji, NUCFRLANMPE’s President, who fielded questions from journalists after a council meeting in Lagos, said that chemical companies could no longer export goods to neighbouring countries.

Recall that the busy Seme and Idiroko borders, which separate the country and neighbouring Republic of Benin was closed in August.

According to the government, the closure is aimed at checking the influx of smuggled goods, especially rice, small arms and ammunition, as well as illegal immigrants, into the country.

Olatunji said that chemical companies were threatening to downsize their workers as several goods had remained in the warehouses unsold as a result of the closure.

”Some of the member companies are already lamenting over the poor sale, because their products cannot be exported to neighbouring countries,” the union president said.

He urged the government to put in place effective monitoring and control measures at the border to curb illicit importation and exportation of outlawed commodities.

Olatunji said that government’s closure of the land borders without considering locally-produced products meant to be exported to neighbouring countries should be reviewed.

“Nigeria’s economy cannot be better because of the land border closure. By closing land borders, some other sectors of the economy are suffering.

”If the options are weighed, it is for us to open the border while putting in place efficient and effective monitoring and controlling measures to curb prohibited commodities,” he said.

The NUCFRLANMPE president said that laying off of more workers would further impoverish the people, increase insecurity and cause decline of membership.

He said that for the economy to become better, there was the need to return to the basics such as mining, agriculture and manufacturing as these sectors needed serious attention.

“It is high time we adopted strategy instead of exporting our commodities and resources in their raw forms.

“The monolithic nature of the economy for years has paved way for backwardness; petroleum is not enough. We urgently need diversification of the economy for better growth and development,” he said.

The union leader further called for improved infrastructure such as good roads, effective power supply and adequate medical facilities that would cater for the upsurge in the population.

He advised the government to tackle the rising unemployment to help solve the issue of insecurity in the country.