By DAPO OLAWUNI
Barely a week after the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Special Squad raided a number of illegal checkpoints mounted by security personnel along the Badagry- Seme expressway last week and arrested some operatives, the checkpoints have returned.
Recently, there was a meeting between the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and the IGP, Kayode Egbetokun, where they both resolved to free the Seme axis which serves as the Lagos-Abidjan Corridor of illegal checkpoints.
However, in a chat with DAILY TREND on Monday, former Chairman of Seme Border Chapter of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Barr Lasisi Fanu confirmed the return of the illegal checkpoints in defiance to the IGP and Customs CGC.
Barr Fanu said “The checkpoints are back already sir. I went to border on Saturday, and they are all in place again”
Also corroborating Barr Fanu, another stakeholder operating at the border, a chieftain of the West African Road Transport Union (WARTU) at Seme, Mr Peter Umukoro said the checkpoints consist of Immigration, Nigerian Police and Nigerian Army.
He said “Police, Immigration and Army have created a new checkpoint at Ijanikin again”
The stakeholders have called for sustainance of the onslaught against the illegal checkpoints by the IGP squard, adding that there is need for regular patrol and inspection, and not just a one-time raid.
Last week, the IGP Squad had chased and arrested some police officers and other security agents found at some of the identified checkpoints, believed to have been created purely to extort.
Seme border accounts for about 70 per cent of the transit traffic in the ECOWAS sub-region.
However, activities of the illegal checkpoints has led to all manners of disruptions to movements of goods and people, and believed to have also hindered trade facilitation; apart from the negative image such actions exposes the country before the regional and continental community.
It will also be recalled that the Seme Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Dera Nnadi mni, since assuming control of the area command, has remained upbeat and in the forefront on plans to change the narrative.
Fielding questions from journalists recently, the Seme Customs boss said the process to eliminate the menance of illegal checkpoints along the route is on, despite that it is slow; and assured that the Seme Agencies Committee is determined to reduce and control allowable checkpoints.
“Everybody is sincere about the collective desire to reduce the check points here”, he said.