Connect with us

Feature News

Badagry-Seme border closure: A tale of hunger games?3 minutes read

With Nigeria having shut its border, the legions of motorbike riders who used to satisfy the nation’s hunger for imported rice has declined

Published

on

Badagry-Seme border closure: A tale of hunger games?

Trade between African nations have gone on well before the start of the colonial era.

Trade led to a relationship which grew into different symbiotic relationships over the years for the different countries and people involved.

Recently, Nigeria closed its land borders with sister African nations in a bid to reduce the influx of arms and ammunition, banned goods and boost local production of agricultural and poultry goods in Nigeria.

I visited the Seme Border between Nigeria and Benin Republic to find out things first hand.

Armed with nothing but a camera, a tripod, camera lenses, identification cards and my crew, our journey started as early as 4 am.

The roads and streets, as expected, were calm with little or no other people on the road with us. Other than street lamps around Eko bridge, we had the darkness for company as we drove away from Victoria Island.

The skies brightened up at about past six in the morning. This visibility came right on time, to combat the next hurdle. Bad roads.

The gaping holes on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway led motorist to drive against traffic on both sides of the road. The criss-cross movements from either lane occurred at intervals until we got to our destination.

Parked trucks greeted us at the gate to the border. The available Customs officials and other security personnel told us that they were not authorized to speak to press.

While Nigeria’s Head of Custom Service, Retired Colonel Hameed Ali insisted that the border will remain closed, people have begun arguing over whether it is brotherly for Nigeria to close its borders or not.

In the face of the recently signed Africa Free Continental Trade Agreement, it is also not wrong to protect an economy from external economic aggression and boost local production which is currently looking like the positive outcome of this closure.

The days of heaping 50-kilo sacks of rice across the saddle of their motorbike and slipping a few notes to a customs officer are now gone.

With Nigeria having snapped its borders shut, the legions of motorbike riders who used to satisfy the nation’s hunger for imported rice are lucky at best to sneak through a few packets of Basmati.

The some 3,000 sacks of rice per day that motorbike riders estimate they previously smuggled across the border from Benin have slowed to a trickle.

As a result, the price of rice has skyrocketed, from ₦9,000 for a 50-kilo sack, to ₦22,000, a price higher than Nigeria’s minimum monthly wage of ₦18,000.

Nigeria says it is turning to local rice product. But at 4.8 million tonnes last year, local rice production was still not enough for the 190 million Nigerians, who spend about a tenth of their food budget on the staple.

Beyond quantity, there is also the issue of quality.

“It’s the imported rice people love,” said one trader at the market in Badagry.

“Nigerian rice is not good enough and too expensive.”

The border closure means Nigeria is choked off from supplies until the next harvest by local farmers.

The Badagry market, usually teeming with activity thanks to its location near the border, now lacks its usual hubbub.

Not only is there almost no rice to be had, there is almost no macaroni, cooking oil, or sugar either.

“We can’t depend only on local production,” said market director Todowede Baba Oja.

“No one is on an island. We depend on one another. This suffering is getting out of hand.”

Even the butcher who sells locally-produced beef is having trouble, as his customers have little left for meat after paying higher prices for staples.

People have “no more money”, he said.

Only time will tell whether Nigeria’s food protectionist policy would not lead to a hunger game among citizens of both countries.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Feature News

The smiles associated with a homecoming

What the return of diasporan Africans means for the continent

Published

on

Cardi B was one of many Hollywood celebrities whom Ghana welcomed with open arms in 2019. Image credit: Olisa.tv

Ghana declared the year 2019 as “the Year of Return”, opening its doors for African-Americans, Afro-Caribbeans and other diasporan Africans to return to the continent and obtain citizenship if they so desired. In the past couple of months, that move has not only impacted the nation once referred to as “the Gold Coast” from a socio-cultural and economic perspective, it has also signalled a renewed wave of African consciousness that is slowly but gradually reverberating across other countries.

In terms of cultural dynamics, Ghana is currently experiencing a moment similar to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, a movement in the United States characterised by an increased interest in African art and culture at a time when racism and segregation – aided by legislation – still thrived in many parts of America. The major difference now is that this new wave is beyond a mere display of interest in “the motherland”, it has more to do with fully experiencing and getting immersed in African culture. According to observers, the dichotomy between Africans and those in the diaspora is slowly fading away, to the extent that diasporan Africans are gradually beginning to see that, in the words of the late reggae music legend Peter Tosh, “as long as you’re a black man, you are an African”.

In the final weeks of 2019, Ghana played host to more than a few high-profile celebrities, including comedian Steve Harvey, supermodel Naomi Campbell, actors Boris Kodjoe and Danny Glover, as well as musicians T.I, Cardi B and Ludacris. In a bold statement of endearment to African roots, Ludacris would go on to obtain citizenship of Gabon, a French-speaking West African nation.

Diasporan Africans trooped into Ghana in their numbers in 2019, leading to a 6.7% increase in the country’s GDP growth rate in the first quarter of last year. There was also a noticeable growth in the country’s private sector amidst the expansion of local businesses, and the influence of this socio-cultural shift on Ghana’s tourism industry is impossible to ignore.

Beyond economic figures, the influx of returnees from the diaspora also illustrates the power in numbers. Ghana’s Year of Return has proven to be a successful experiment, and it is hoped that more African countries follow in its footsteps.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Veteran South African Musician Steve Fataar Is Dead

The guitarist of famed group, The Flames died at the age of 76.

Published

on

Legendary South African guitarist, Steve Fataar who was a member of the 60s group, The Flames has been reported dead.

The news was confirmed by Joey Fourie, a close friend of Steve’s and the owner of The Daily Music Show in Cape Town on Channel24 on Saturday, January 18.

“He passed on in the early hours of this morning after his gig at Zach’s. He came home and died in his sleep of lung complications,” he said.

According to reports, Fataar suffered from lung complications, although the exact cause of death has not yet been confirmed. The singer is however believed to have died in his sleep in the early hours of Saturday morning just a few hours after playing a gig at popular Durban venue, Zacks.

Steve Fataar playing the guitar (The Citizen)

Fataar was well-known for playing with his band, The Flames, best known for their 1967 hit record, ‘For Your Precious Love’.

The guitarist had been suffering from a breathing illness since 2014. In the same year, his music friends held a benefit concert on his behalf because of his health issues. The concert featured acts The Reals, The Hairy-Legged Lentil Eaters and Graham Boyle and Spider Murch.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Burna Boy Makes Michelle Obama’s 2020 Workout Playlist

The former first lady and physical activity advocate hopes to inspire lots of exercising this year.

Published

on

Burna Boy’s ‘My Money, My Baby’ has made former U.S first lady, Michelle Obama’s workout playlist for the year. This comes just a few weeks after the African Giant made Barack Obama’s favourite music of 2019 list alongside Rema and Angelique Kidjo.

Michelle Obama disclosed this on Instagram on Sunday, January 19, in a bid to inspire people to stick to their new year goals and resolutions.

“It’s about that time when New Year’s goals and resolutions get just a bit harder to stick to. To offer a little inspiration, I want to share my go-to 2020 #WorkoutPlaylist with all of you. These songs always seem to give me that extra boost to get through my toughest workouts. What’s on your playlist? #IAmBecoming #SelfcareSunday,” she shared alongside the playlist.

‘My Money, My Baby’, the Burna Boy record that made it to the list is off the original motion picture score of Queen & Slim which was released in November 2019.

The other Nigerian on the list is Tobe Nigwe, a rapper based in Houston making strides with his message-laden music and distinct rhyming style. His song featured on the list is his 2018 release, ‘I’m Dope’ featuring David Michael Wyatt.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Trending