On many occasions, I have been to the Republic of Benin. The largest market in Benin Republic (Dantokpa in Cotonou) is not up to Gbagi Market in Ibadan. All you see in the Market are foreign products. The country manufactures virtually nothing. It is a dumping ground for any foreign good.
I was surprised, one day, when I discovered that they import ordinary pure water from Nigeria. More than 90% of their finished petroleum products are imported illegally from Nigeria. This poses a huge loss and sabotage to the Nigerian economy.
Their universities, especially Houdegbe University, are mainly attended by Nigerians. Those cult and Yahoo-Yahoo guys, who were expelled from our universities, have found safe havens in those jankara universities. Another source of capital fight, you know.
Their secondhand-clothes market is chiefly patronised by Nigerian wholesales buyers. They are mostly smuggled into Nigeria without any customs duty being paid into the coffers of the government. Secondhand shirts and jeans! Secondhand ties and shoes! Even, secondhand bra and panties! Aarrrggghhh! Nigeria don suffer!
Their bread is as tasteless as tastelessness itself. Beninoise don’t eat parboiled rice. They eat white rice. In spite of this, the parboiled rice import into the country, annually, is about 1 billion dollars (over 350 billion naira). Who is the main beneficiary of this importation? Of course, Benin Republic!
All the imported rice are brought into Nigeria by smuggling through Idi-Iroko, Seme and other porous borders. There is nothing the Nigeria government gains from this racketeering. The main beneficiaries are the smugglers, the corrupt Customs officers and the government of the Republic of Benin.
Why won’t the federal government close our borders to this parasitic disposition? The Republic of Benin can’t be making billions at the expense of our local economy. It won’t work. Everywhere now, rice factories are springing up in Nigeria. Confluence Rice, Choscharis Rice, Ga’ate Rice, Lake Rice and others are in market. I ate local rice yesterday. Don’t ask me how it tasted. I know I did not die.
What we need is development of the operation process in rice production to a world-class standard. We shall get it right, one day. By fire, by force, we must feed ourselves. A population of almost 200 million must feed itself. No going back on border closure. God bless Nigeria.