Border Closure Should Last For More Than 2 Years ― Hon Atigwe
• Says South East is ready for Presidency in 2023
By Kehinde Akintola.
A Member representing Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency of Enugu State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Simon Chukwuemeka Atigwe, on Sunday, called on Federal Government to sustain the closure of land borders for more than two years, to enable Nigerians to reap the abounding benefits.
Speaking with Parliamentary Correspondents in Abuja, Hon. Atigwe argued that the closure was the best policy so far put in place by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, “apart from helping to checkmate the influx of arms and criminal elements causing insecurity in the country, the borders closure would compel Nigerians to resort to agriculture because those in farming business would have value for their labour.
“Personally, I think that is the best decision so far taken by the President as far as the economy of Nigeria is concerned because you don’t just allow your country to be flooded with goods from other countries, making your own citizens very lazy; making them consumers only and not producers.
“I think it doesn’t help anybody saying that borders should be opened to importers anyhow while smuggling goes on uncontrolled. Apart from making us lazy, we are still losing income; we are losing revenue because all these people smuggling goods through road borders are not paying anything.
“But if things should be coming in through the ports like the airports and the seaports, then there will be scrutiny of all the things coming in.
“Apart from the revenue, you also safeguard your people because these smugglers bring in arms and ammunition and all sorts of dangerous weapons that all these bandits are using; and you can’t track it because they come in through all corners of the borders. So, I support the border closures 100 per cent.
“China is doing well today because of what they did. China at a time closed all their borders, I think for 50 years or so. They had no contact with anybody. They stayed within and started producing all the things they needed. Today, China is one of the leading economies of the world.
“So, if we can allow this border closure to go beyond two years, I assure you, we will produce everything we need in Nigeria, and save our economy, save our forest and all that. You will see our economy booming again even though it might be biting for now as you said.
“By the time we get it right now, everybody will be happy. So, I support the border closure,” he noted.
While responding to question on Igbo Presidency by 2023, Hon. Atigwe said that the South-East should be allowed by other zones of the country to produce the next President in the interest of equity and peace.
He noted that Igbos are people full of industry and ingenuity when it comes to turning opportunities to great potentials, assuring that the Igbo man as Nigeria’s President would do exploits.
Hon. Atigwe further discountenance the popular view that Igbos could not work together, saying that, though they are republican in nature, they love themselves, love others and have the capacity to unite the various geo-cultural strata of Nigeria.
“If you understand the Igbos very well, you will know that they are republicans. They believe in self-survival, and it’s not their undoing. It’s only when you don’t know them. You hear of all these crises everywhere; people burning their houses but you don’t hear it in Igboland.
“They love themselves more than any other tribe, but outside you think they are killing themselves. Do elections 10 times, you won’t hear of serious destructions in Igboland because of politics, but you hear this in some other areas. So, the impression people have that they are not united does not hold water.
“If equity should come to play, it is not disputable, it is (the turn of) South East. If it comes to the South and it doesn’t go to the South East, then there must be a very serious reason, and I don’t think that anybody can proffer such reason to convince people easily. And I don’t think anybody has that reason that it should not go to the South East.
“One, it is their turn, if you are talking about turn; two, they have capable people; three, they have contributed immensely to the development of this country: academically, politically, financially and even during the struggle for independence, they were in forefront.
“So, it is purely their turn if it comes to the Southern zone and I think that we should respect ourselves and allow it to be so,” Hon. Atigwe stated.