The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has entertained the fear that the raging ocean surge might sweep away the $4.5 billion Nigeria-Republic of Benin joint border control facility at Seme Border. The facility was donated by the European Union (EU) to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and was commissioned in 2018.
The border control facility is jointly operated by Nigeria and Republic of Benin and houses all the security agencies from both countries that operate at the border.
Addressing members of the Senate ad-hoc Committee on Customs and Excise during an oversight visit, Customs Area Controller, Seme Border Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, said that there was need for urgent measures to address the menace of ravaging ocean surge at Nigeria’s end of the border control facility. Nnadi explained that one of the residential buildings in the barracks area of the command had been swept under the waters while a second building is at the verge of being submerged due to the sea surge.
He said: “No one knows when and how the next surge would happen; it could be when people are asleep. You can imagine the quantum of loss in terms of lives and property that could occur if such a disaster happens at night. My own official residence is about six metres away from the second building that is at the verge of being submerged, so you can imagine how close the surge is to us. “This is why urgent remedial measures are required in the interim while efforts are made to address the menace on a more permanent and sustainable basis.” The comptroller listed other challenges at the command to include poor public power supply to the border facility, adding that there had only been power supply to the area twice since January this year, a development that negatively impacts cost of operation, especially given the increase in the pump price of petroleum products.
According to him, several letters have been written to the Managing Director of Eko Electricity Distribution Company EKEDC, which is in charge of supplying public power to the area, none of which has changed the situation, stressing that the letters have not been replied to as at the time of filing this report. Also, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Francis Ade Fadahunsi, while reacting to the concerns raised by the CAC over the worsening sea surge, having inspected some parts of the joint border control facility, noted that the committee came on the visit at the behest of the leadership of the National Assembly, especially the Senate and would therefore tender its report to it.