Seme border reopens after postponement of elections

Commercial activities remained low at Seme on Saturday following the reopening of Nigeria-Benin Republic border after the last-minute postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government had ordered the closure of all Nigerian land borders with effect from Friday 12:00 noon February 15 to 12.00 noon of Sunday, February 17.

NAN reports that even though Seme border was reopened early on Saturday following the election postponement to February 23, commercial activities were low as many traders and licensed clearing agents did not show up.

Mr Jacob Uchenna, a customs agent, told NAN that he was in Seme to find out if the border would be reopened.

“It is so unfortunate that INEC decided to postpone the election without considering the economic implications on Nigerians.

“It is only on Saturdays that business used to boom here at Seme but look at what is happening now.

“Marketers did not come, even those that are around are not selling because people didn’t show up for business,” he said.

NAN reports that human and vehicular movement across the border took place without any hindrance while customs and immigration officials thoroughly checked the few vehicles passing through the area.

The situation remained the same at Badagry Market, where few traders displayed their goods, which were patronized by a few buyers.

Mrs Iyabode Joseph, a food vendor in the market, lamented low patronage because many refused to leave their homes.

Meanwhile, some residents of the coastal city of Badagry reacted to the postponement of the election, describing it as unfortunate.

Mr Dosu Avoseh said, “This postponement will cause a lot of hardship on citizens.

“It doesn’t say well of INEC and raised doubts on its ability and readiness to conduct free and fair elections.

“Many people have had programs planned for next weekend that will now have to be cancelled.

“Businesses will suffer, people who travelled this weekend will lose income and may end up not voting next weekend because they won’t be able to afford to travel back.

“The negative ripple effect of the postponement is frightening so much so that it’s hard to appreciate the need for the postponement in the first place.”

Also speaking, Mr Victor Akinseye, said the commission had reasons for postponing the elections.

“I think INEC would not have deliberately done that if it is not worth it, however, the short notice was the problem.

“It does not portray the country as a serious nation to foreigners, particularly the International Observers.

“It also portrays the nation a wasteful country,” he said.



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