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Joint-border security exercise paralysis commercial, social activities in Badagry communities

The joint-border security exercise ordered by the Federal Government to restrict movements within the country’s land and sea borders, paralysed commercial and social activities in Badagry communities on Monday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

A correspondent of NAN who monitored activities at the popular Badagry Round about, Agbalata International Market and Seme border, reports that there were lull in activities in those areas.

The correspondent also observed that activities at the Agbalata Fish Market were dull as most of the fish sellers from communities in the Republic of Benin without valid documents were restricted from entering Seme.

Also, people from different parts of Nigeria that came to the market as early as 6 a.m. on Monday were disappointed as most of the fish sellers from Benin Republic were not in the market.

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A fish seller in Badagry, Mrs Folashade Avoseh, told NAN that most of the fish sellers from the Republic of Benin were not allowed to enter the coastal town because they did not have valid documents.

According to Avoseh, only a few of them managed to come to the market through the water ways.

NAN also reports that commercial activities at the Seme Border area had been grounded as most of the licensed agents were no more coming to their offices.

Officers and men from the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Immigration Service and the Nigerian Army were seeing attending to foreign travellers with valid documents to cross the border.

Sikiru Agbaje, a commercial bus driver plying the Lagos- Badagry- Seme route lamented the low turnout of passengers since the beginning of the exercise.

Ajagbe said on Monday that his bus had been on queue waiting to load for passengers as early as 7a.m.

He said that businessmen and women were no longer coming to town because of the restriction.

“Since 7.00 a.m., a single passenger had not boarded my bus. Everything is dry, no passengers; no business.

“The exercise is affecting everybody as the security operatives at Seme border are seizing contrabands from passengers coming into the country at the check points.

“It is no longer business as usual again,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Ebenezer Kuponu, the Chairman Community Development Committee (CDC) Badagry Local Government, on Monday appealed to the residents of Badagry to endure the situation.

He also advised them to co-operate with the various officers deployed at the border for the exercise by the Federal Government.

Kuponu told NAN that communities in Badagry Local government Area had been experiencing difficulties due to the exercise.

“Some of our brothers and sisters married from communities in the Republic of Benin.

“The restriction is affecting families from Nigeria to visit their families in Benin Republic and vice versa as well as social activities across the border.

“Also, some of the people who reside in Badagry and used to go to Cotonou at the weekend are now trapped due to the exercise.

“But at this point we have to co-operate with the security agencies so that they can achieve their aim here.

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“We should appreciate what we produce here in Nigeria instead of running after contrabands,” he said.

NAN also reports that the lawmaker representing Badagry Constituency in the House of Representatives, Babatunde Hunpe, had on Sunday urged the residents to remain calm over the ongoing exercise in the area.

Hunpe made the appeal following complaints by his constituents over the hardship the restriction of movements at Seme border had caused them.

The federal lawmaker said that the exercise was aimed at securing the country against trans-border crimes and criminality.

NAN reports that many travellers and vehicles were stranded for hours at Seme border post following the exercise.

It observed that they were being thoroughly searched by the security personnel drafted to the area.

The joint-border security exercise, code-named ‘Ex-Swift Response’, was ordered by the Federal Government and was aimed at securing Nigeria’s land and maritime borders.

The exercise commenced last Tuesday and was being jointly conducted by the customs, immigration, police and military personnel and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). (NAN)