Dera Nnadi, Mni, the brand new Area Controller of the Seme-Badagry border Command is a man of discipline, intellect and one not given to frivolities when it comes to Customs affairs.
Having superintended over the Ogun I Idiroko border Command before he was sent to the Prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru near Jos, he all the same, must have acquired much policy content to confront any assignment delegated to him wherever, henceforth.
So when he landed at the Seme Command yesterday, all the officers and men felt the presence of a man of knowledge, firm and one that cannot easily be bent or misled. A new thing is in the offing; and when he commenced the historical perspectives that the Seme-Badagry corridor is made of, all and sundry were in agreement that indeed comptroller Nnadi knows his onions.
Conscious of how important the command is to International traders, he deposed that it is a major trade route to the countries in the West African sub-region.
He explained, matter of fact that the Seme Corridor is a very well-known and very well used transit by trans-regional traders, which links Nigeria with its neighbours in West Africa, connecting Nigeria with Ghana, Togo, and others through Benin Republic, our immediate neighbour.
Nnadi further explained that the volume of trade that plies the Seme Corridor, also known as the Seme Expressway, as part of the trans-Africa Highway, extends to Senegal, ending in Mombasa, the Kenyan port city.
He says from Mile 2 Bus Stop and Alakoro in the heart of Lagos Island, and from Idumota Market at the Lagos mainland through manufacturing industrial estates at Ogba, Ikeja and Agbara, vehicles are available to various destinations along the West Coast and central Africa, where articulated trucks and passenger vehicles load men and materials for various destinations, starting from Benin Republic and going to Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and beyond.
The Seme Customs new boss who held his management officers and media men spell-bound with his intellectual and historical account of the trading route noted that Nigeria has everything it takes therefore, to be a front runner in regional trade and the soon to be implemented African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), with the Nigeria Customs Service playing a key role by deploying its smart trading tools and applying existing trans-regional schemes like the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS).
A product of intellectual power house with clearly proven evidence of his vast knowledge of the diplomatic, bilateral and comparative advantage of the route, Nnadi further informed that with Nigeria’s population of over 200 million people, Nigeria cannot afford to underutilize the economic advantage of the Lagos-Abidjan Corridor.
In particular, he posited that the Seme Customs Command as custodian of the Lagos-Abidjan corridor has the capacity to correct any trade imbalance within the region.
While thanking the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd) and his management team for his posting to the command, Nnadi said it is a huge responsibility for him and the command’s management team to ensure that together, they do not perform less.
His words, “This deployment to Seme is strategic because Seme border is one of the major gateways to Nigeria, not just economically but also politically. Nigeria is surrounded by four countries that speaks French and Benin Republic is one of those nations on this corridor. Through this border, we have access to the Abidjan-Lagos corridor, crossing five independent states (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria).”
“This corridor isn’t new. It is as old as Nigeria or even older than the nation. Our forefathers traded on this route and when you read the history of the Ghana Empire, Old Oyo Empire, Dahomey Empire, among others, you would find this border in the historical developments.”
“It is very important that we treat this opportunity of being posted to Seme border as very critical because this should be the gateway for AfCFTA in the region.”
“It behooves on us to consider our posting to this Command as significant to Nigeria and the whole of Africa. I am only first amongst equals, you are all core officers manning different beats, and working together as a team is nonnegotiable. We are expected to perform to our optimal capacity for the benefits of our country, and l will drive the process.”
“With your support, we cannot afford to do less, because for any of us, it is a privilege to be here. So l urge all of us to sit up and continue to build on what we already have; and we can even seek to improve where there are opportunities.”