We have lost over N10m to restrictions at border posts, says `Baba-Oja’ of Ajara Market

Ajara New Market in Badagry has lost over N10 million due to restriction on  movements and goods at the Owode and Seme border posts since the exercise commenced last month.

The market leader popularly called `Baba-Oja’, Chief Hoteyin Todowede, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ajara on Tuesday.

He said that since the restrictions became effective at the   border posts three weeks ago, buying and selling of products had suffered a serious setback at the market.

NAN reports that the restrictions that came into effect last month followed the joint border security exercise ordered by the Federal Government aimed at securing Nigeria’s land and maritime borders.

The exercise, code-named, ‘Ex-Swift Response’, is  being jointly conducted by the customs, immigration, police and military personnel and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Todowede said,   “Customers are no longer coming to the market to buy goods like before and we have lost over N10million to lull in market activities.

“Some of our customers that used to come from Cotonou in  the Republic Benin, Ghana and Togo are no longer patronising  to the market.

“Marketers that used to buy rice from Cotonou cannot get it any longer because of the restrictions.

“No good is coming into or going out of the market and this is creating a tough situation for us in the market,” he said.

He said the new policy of government had really affected the marketers, adding that most of the shops in Ajara New Market had closed.

“As we all know that the primary aim of marketers is to sell goods or wares but when one is not selling for days, it will affect the capital invested in such market.

“Although the aim of the government when it introduced this policy is to develop the country’s agricultural sector and secure the land borders, however, it has had negative effects on the marketers.

“The restrictions have reduced patronage of people that used to come to buy foodstuffs.

“We do not depend on foreign goods from other countries, we depend solely on our local productions and people do come from different states and countries to buy from us,” he said.

Todowede urged the Federal Government to always provide alternatives anytime it planned to introduce policies that might have negative effects on Nigerians.

He said that the enforcement of the restrictions was so sudden and the government did not make room for alternatives that could have cushioned the hardships faced by the people.

The market head said that nobody was against the policy but his members were caught unawares when the joint-task force set up by the government commenced its implementation.

He said that most of the shops selling foodstuffs had closed because buyers had stopped coming.

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