Why FG’s Ban on Land Border-Importation of Vehicles Makes NO Sense – Adeeko Ademola

BusinessDay search shows that before the implementation of the new auto policy, which raised duty paid on imported vehicles from 20 to 70 percent to encourage the upcoming assembling plants in the country, about 30,000 new cars and trucks used to arrive Nigeria every month across all the Roll-on Roll-off (RORO) terminals, but the volume has now dropped to about 10,000 monthly. 


Most times, I can’t help but chuckle at the sheer incompetence and shallow reasoning employed in drafting government policies in Nigeria. These attributes are evident in almost every decision the Nigerian government has taken over time. Such of these ill-advised policies is the latest ban on land border imported vehicles into the country.


Yesterday night, I got a message circulated via WhatsApp. As I read through the message which was laden with the intention to sway public opinion about the government’s decision to place a ban on land border-imported vehicles.


After reading the ridiculous reasons the government gave for the ban, I was compelled to address what seems to me like a damning decision by a government that has done little to nothing to alleviate the suffering of it’s own citizens especially in a period of economic recession. Therefore, I will share with you the points circulated by the FG as reasons for the ban before addressing them:


Why FG’s ban of vehicle imports through land borders makes sense


1. Ensures the proper documentation and duty collection on vehicles that comes into the country. Many vehicles brought in through land borders find ways and means to avoid payment of duties thereby shortchanging Nigeria.

2. Reduction in smuggling of vehicles older than 15 years into the country. Many of these vehicles have a lot of harmful exhaust which could be responsible for increasing cases of lung cancers seen in younger people in Nigeria. The government cannot control the vehicles imported through land borders with some as old as 20 years!

3. Reduction of corruption and bribery of customs by smugglers through land borders and of course the attendant security challenges whereby arms and other dangerous products can be smuggled in along with those vehicles.

4. Avoidance of double payment of duties on imported vehicles. Most Nigerians who buy used vehicles brought in through land borders still have to pay as much as extra 300,000 Naira as duties to customs within Nigeria, with many vehicles impounded along with the pains to the affected individuals.

5. Reduction in 419, armed robbery and several other losses to Nigerian buyers who travel all the way through land to buy used vehicles in neighboring countries.

6. Helps to protect the local auto industry and makes government more responsible.


Laughable, isn’t it? I have read the reasons over and over again and nothing in it suggests that a total ban will eradicate or in any way reduce the vices listed in those reasons. As a matter of fact, whoever came up with those reasons, either has a low reasoning capacity or just lacks critical thinking abilities and I will tell you why.


In order to solve a problem perpetually or let me say; put an everlasting solution to a problem, you should be ready to go as far as the root causes of the problem. Once it is evident that you’re not ready to tackle the causative factors of a particular problem, then you have no business holding any leadership position. Nigeria, as it is now, does not need cosmetical or short term solutions. We need thoroughly thought out solutions to be able to solve our systemic problems.


If you remember, some years ago, Ex-President Jonathan increased sea port importation tariff by 70% in a bid to discourage importation of automobiles and to encourage a ‘non-existent’ local automobile industry or let’s just say; “Innoson Motors”. The increment in importation tariff resulted to spike in the price of imported automobiles as Nigerians continued to demand for imported automobiles. At a point, the tariff was unbearable and due to the natural demand for foreign brands of automobiles, importers, willing to meet the demand and also sell at affordable rates resorted to land border importation otherwise known as smuggling. What they do basically, is; ship their merchandise to a neighboring country where the importation tariff is relatively low and then they bring the cars into Nigeria via porous borders, hereby cutting off the costs of paying government the necessary monetary dues which also means government has continued to lose revenue in Billions of Naira to smuggling over time.


Going back up to the reasons listed by the FG for the ban, you’ll realize that the ban will have very little effect on the listed reasons except for number 1 which clearly states that; “the ban will ensure the proper documentation and duty collection on vehicles that comes into the country. Many vehicles brought in through land borders find ways and means to avoid payment of duties thereby shortchanging Nigeria.” Truth is the Nigerian government cannot really be bothered about the type or the age of cars brought into the country. The government cannot be bothered about the respiratory problems that come with driving very old cars. The government cannot be bothered about the rate of armed robbery and 419 schemes people may go through traveling all the way to neighboring countries to purchase automobiles. The only thing the government is interested in is the loss of funds involved in the land border importation venture. Simple!


Moving on, why does the government need to place a ban on land border importation when it encouraged the venture some years ago by increasing tariff at the seaports? Why is it so hard for the government to reduce the throat-cutting tariff at the seaports to encourage importers abandon the land border importation? After all, seaports are safer and closer to the importers’ customers. Importers who make use of the seaports readily know that seaports are way better than using land borders especially when you put into consideration, the treacherous journey from the borders to the inner cities coupled with bad roads and security risks. The question we should ask ourselves is; why do importers risk everything to use land borders over seaports? The answer is simple; cut-throat tariff at the seaports.




That period Innoson started it’s operations in Nigeria, the FG under Goodluck Jonathan, in a bid to support the locally manufactured cars by Innoson, decided to hike the importation tariff at the seaport to discourage importation and encourage the growth of the local automobile sector. It would have been a very good move if Innoson had taken the opportunity to widen it’s business scope. First off, Innoson is yet to be a trusted brand and it’s market penetration has barely left the surface even years after inception. Instead of Innoson, in what is expected of it to penetrate the market targeting the low/middle income earners in it’s production, was busy competing prices of automobiles with world renowned brands like KIA and Hyundai and Toyota. If Innoson is not a trusted brand yet in terms of quality and it’s cheapest car is at same price with say; Hyundai. Honestly, I don’t think there is any Nigerian who will buy an Innoson over a Hyundai, all on the altar of supporting locally made cars. In general, I doubt any Nigerian will buy a car because it’s a local brand as opposed to quality. At least, not at this time. As a matter of fact, an average Nigerian will buy a product for it’s longevity/durability (at a reasonable price) over luxury, even at same price.


This why I have always opined that Innoson needs to follow the market penetration model of a company like Tecno. Target low/medium income earners, who are the majority first, then rise through the ranks to compete with other brands over time especially with advance in research on latest technology. With the untested nature of Innoson vehicles, no one is willing to risk hard-earned money to buy vehicles they’re not certain about the availability of it’s body parts and durability.


Given the current state of the economy, how many Nigerians can actually afford brand new cars from Innoson now that we have placed a ban on cheap land border-imported cars? How many Nigerians can even afford Tokunbo cars with the high tariff demanded by the seaport? To go back to the root of the problem, why in the first place did importers choose land border importation? Simply because the tariff at seaports is too high. If a car merchant buys a car worth 500, 000 Naira and ends up spending almost 300k to clear it, how much do you think he’ll put up the car for, after adding his profit? Who is willing to buy such car at that imagined price especially with the recession in the country?


If the government is really serious about growing the local automobile industry, then it should look inwards to ensure the cost of production is relatively low so that companies like Innoson can drop their prices to create an edge over imported brands or better still, make the country business-friendly enough to invite automobile companies to set up manufacturing plants here in Nigeria which is also a good avenue to boos employment.




The only move that is appropriate right about now, is for the government to embark on a downward review of the seaport importation tariff before ever considering a ban on land border importation. The government has enough to gain by reducing the tariff and the reason I propose this is quite straightforward;


1. A reduction in importation tariff will encourage car importers to rescind on their decision to smuggle. It will encourage them to make use of the seaports in as much as they don’t have to break the bank to clear their imported merchandise from the ports.

2. The ripple effects of a tariff reduction will be felt immediately as government’s revenue generation from seaports will soar as a result of the increase in the importers who will patronize the ports over smuggling.

3. Their will be a reduced friction between smugglers and men of the Customs service. The less smugglers we have to deal with, the more effective the Customs service will be.

4. There will be a huge reduction in the corrupt practices of Custom officials basically because patronage will definitely fall to the barest minimum and this also grants the agency a clearer opportunity to rid itself of corrupt officials.

5. Fewer Nigerians will patronize smugglers when they know they can purchase vehicles at a reasonable price without the unnecessary risks of traveling long distance to neighboring countries and also they can get proper documentation for their vehicles without the risk of being caught and asked to pay double for import duties.

6. The Nigerian government can keep tabs on the necessary info it needs about every imported vehicle.


However, if the FG strongly believes the ban on land-border importation despite maintaining a high tariff  at seaports will deter smugglers, then it has really got jokes because a country like Nigeria with absolutely porous borders will only see a shift in entry point for smugglers not a reduction. In brevity, we will only succeed in overstretching our already overstretched Customs service.


Those who advised the presidency to place a ban on land imported cars while maintaining a high importation tariff at the seaports didn’t take their time to think it through properly. I sincerely hope that they get time to read this piece and make appropriate adjustments.


However, I won’t leave you without this piece of information to corroborate my stand on this issue. These are words from Asconio Russo, managing director/CEO, Ports and Terminal Multi-Services Limited (PTML), operators of Nigeria’s biggest RoRo terminal. And I quote:

Our business is down by about 60 percent, which is a significant drop and this has to do with the auto policy, which increased duty on imported cars and buses from 20 to 70 percent since July 2014. As a result, there was huge diversion of traffic to Benin Republic such that Benin Republic that used to be one of the major reason why Nigeria has been losing revenue from imported vehicle, became the most important port for Nigerian vehicles,” he said.

Jungle Justice: The Resultant Effect of Injustice and the Hypocrisy of Nigerians. – Adeeko Ademola

It is less painful if you’re a victim of a crime compared to being a victim of injustice. The latter is more dangerous!



I read in utter dismay as Nigerians on Social Media yet talked about the issue of jungle justice again. This is not the first time and will definitely not be the last time that Nigerians will take the laws into their own hands by meting out ‘justice’ defined by their emotions.



The reason I have been quite indifferent about the recent jungle justice incident making the rounds, which involved an alleged 7 year old boy who was set ablaze when caught trying to steal Garri is because; Nigerians are expected to make so much noise about a situation which has become a norm in the society, and then after a few days, we go back to sleep, waiting for the next time another of such incident to reoccur. Never has it been a responsibility for us to ensure the impossibility of a recurrence.



Jungle justice is basically the resultant outcome of a failed judicial system but trust Nigerians to only scratch the surface of a deep problem and then proffer temporary solutions to it. Jungle justice is a ripple resultant effect of an institutional failure which is deeply rooted in injustice spread over a period of time.



Jungle justice is not new in Nigeria, as a matter of fact, it has become a culture among a lot of Nigerians. It is seen as the best method of getting justice especially in a society where the downtrodden has never enjoyed what justice feels like.



I had a conversation with a friend some weeks ago about corruption in the judiciary and the unconventional way the Presidency has chosen to  fight it and I remember saying in these specific words; “Let us bask in mediocrity for a while, corruption in the Executive arm of the government is inexcusable but can still afford to be treated with levity, same goes for the Legislative arm. However, corruption in the Judicial arm of government is the most dangerous basically because the sanity of a society is dependent on that last line of defense – the Judiciary. When all else fails, the Judiciary cannot afford to fail because without justice, there can never be peace and without peace, a society is as good as gone.”



In every civilized society, the judiciary is expected to be the last hope of the common man and as such cannot afford to be corrupt. The power to declare a man innocent or guilty, the power to determine whether a man lives or dies is endowed unto the judiciary as the custodians of the constitution. The judicial arm of the government is the most sensitive because the balance and survival of a society depends on it.



Decades of injustice, perverted justice, delayed justice has brought about the situation where people resort to self-help. Humans are wired to always find a way to get what they want and that is a law of nature that cannot be over-emphasized. One of the tenets of creating a civilized and organized society is to curtail the excesses of man and that is why we have laws that govern us. The balance in the world today, despite how tilted it is today, is held together at the center because we still have law and order in place. Take out law and order and all you have left is anarchy and barbarism, and that, right there is where we what the Nigerian society is rooting for.



Without excusing jungle justice, I will say that we may need to look into the root causes of this problem before we can ever talk about solutions. I have read people totally condemn jungle justice without reference whatsoever to what might have been the cause, and that, for me is equal to ignoring Leprosy to treat Ringworm infection. Deeply tucked under, is a compilation of unsettled grudges and injustice. For jungle justice to thrive this much in societies that have moved faraway from the cave days, there must be something we’re not addressing – injustice.



Recent revelations clearly shows that justice is for sale in Nigeria and worst part is; it actually does not have a price as it’s sale is dependent on how much you’re willing to sacrifice to get it. In other words, justice goes to the highest bidder. Now, let us put the situation into proper perspective. If the majority of Nigerians are poor, that also means they will not be able to afford the price for justice. So technically, justice belong to the rich who happen to be the minority. Imagine how many millions of people are downtrodden by the system on a daily basis. Quite a lot, if you got the calculations well. There you have one viable reason for jungle justice.



Looking a bit further away from the technicalities, remember that in the second paragraph of this piece, there’s a mention of a 7 year old who was set ablaze by an angry mob for allegedly stealing Garri. This morning, a citizen shared his experience which shed more light and a new perspective to the “Garri Thief” story. The circulated story was actually not true. The suspect is an adult male and was not trying to steal Garri. However, he narrated a story about a robbery that led to the death of his younger brother. It was such a compelling and sad story. It is one story that makes any human feel that uncontrollable rush of anger and decide to take drastic measures to get justice. Apparently, the narrator’s brother was accosted in public by armed robbers and without warning, was stabbed in the neck and stripped of a mobile device. He was rushed to nearby hospitals where his condition was met with several rejections. He lost so much blood in the process and eventually died. Bringing untold pain and anguish to his family, yet months later, he never got justice. Now, imagine how the victim’s family will feel, especially knowing that killer of their son is still out there and the possibility of him being made to face the law is as thin as a thread. Just think about  the pain and heartache that may never have closure. Think about the irresistible urge to have vengeance on the one person who threw a whole family into mourning just because of a mobile device. Think about how much they want to see their son’s murderer suffer as much as they have suffered.



I have also had personal experiences and I’m sure a good number of Nigerians have in one time or a couple, had same experiences. I have seen situations where a criminal is caught and handed over to the Police, days later, same criminal is back on the streets, carrying out same nefarious activity he was initially apprehended for, without fear for the law and consequences.



Injustice is simply lack of fairness or justice and in situations where there is injustice, the room for grudges and tendencies for self-help grows bigger and it keeps growing in as much as there continues to be injustice until the down-trodden cannot stomach it anymore. And there you have jungle justice becoming the only way viable to get justice.



However, where jungle justice thrives, the possibilities of victimizing innocent people comes into play. As much as I have seen jungle justice meted out to criminals caught in the act, I have also read about innocent people being victims of jungle justice. However, paying lip service to the scourge has not and will never help put an end to it. Instead, the Nigerian people should rise up to the responsibilities of demanding for justice for all. Selective justice, justice on the shelf and total injustice are just about the perfect recipe for jungle justice and until we have achieved an upright judiciary which does not only treat people equally but also ensures justice is served appropriately and at the right time, jungle justice is here to stay. No amount of noise or human emotions will take a way a problem that just needs common sense to fix.



We cannot continue to ask people to shun jungle justice while the reality out there is a fertile ground for jungle justice to grow. We’ll just be running around in circles while innocent people are being victimized for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is no point trying to melt the tip of an iceberg ignoring the massive chunk of ice underneath the water. It makes no sense applying cosmetic solutions to fundamental problems. The judiciary should rise up to the occasion and live up to it’s responsibility of creating a just society.



Until we are able to ensure immediate consequences for criminal activities and law-breaking, we may just be prancing around. We all should rise as Nigerians to not only pay lip service but also identify and fight the constraints militating against the attainment of a just society, a society where justice does not just belong to the rich but everybody, a society where everybody, irrespective of their social statuses can have a sense of belonging and ownership not leaving out the expectation of being protected by the law when the need arises.

Now that the Senate has thrown out the Grazing Bill, what next? – Adeeko Ademola

The Senate yesterday stepped down three bills on the controversial issue of grazing in the country.

They are: “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of Grazing Areas Management Agency and Other Related Matters 2016”, sponsored by Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso (APC, Kano Central); “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of National Ranches Commission for the Regulation, Management, Preservation and Control of Ranches and Connected Purposes 2016”, sponsored by Senator Barnabas Gemade (APC, Benue North-East); and “A Bill for an Act to Control the Keeping and Movement of Cattle in Nigeria and Other Related Matters 2016”, sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North).

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the Senate lacked the constitutional authority to legislate on the issues.

In as much as I would have loved that we find a lasting solution to the issue of animal grazing in Nigeria in the national assembly, I’m also of the opinion that the state governors do have a huge part to play in resolving the crisis that follows destruction of farmlands by Fulani herdsmen and their livestock.

As I have always opined that the Grazing Bill is dead on arrival basically because it does not address the fundamental questions raised by the victims of the herdsmen versus farmers carnage.

The Grazing Bill seeks to allocate portions of lands all over the federation to herdsmen for grazing. Any critical thinking person should know that this move will but only further the escalation of the feud between herdsmen and host communities. Using constitutional powers to allocate lands to nomads in host communities cannot count as a just method to solving the crisis.

Creating a grazing route in 36 states of the federation is like favoring settlers with the ownership rights to lands over the indigents of a particular area and considering how deeply divided the Nigerian people are along tribal and ethnic lines, the bill simply seeks to institutionalize the existing tension between herdsmen and farmer which in turn tends to be more dangerous than what we presently witness.

For instance, allocating grazing lands to a Fulani man in a Yoruba land like Ekiti is not a move that will sit well with the original indigents unless of course it is a business transaction of which in this case, is not.

Apart from the land-grabbing outlook of the allocation of lands for grazing, we are simply seeking to elaborate an already over-bloated government. In a time of recession, when the government is expected to reduce the size of it’s operations in order to save cost, we are looking to pass a bill that seeks to establish a Grazing Route Agency which intends to have a secretariat in all 36 state of the federation and thereby incurring running costs in operation and staff remuneration.

In a corruption-ridden country like ours, we cannot afford to use tax-payers money to create avenues for corrupt practices. As the struggle to cleanse ministries, parastatals and agencies of corruption, it’s not advisable to encourage corrupt practices by creating unneeded and inconsequential government agencies.

What To Do:

It is a laudable move for the government to put into consideration the plight of the herdsmen but that should not come at the detriment of people with other sources of livelihood. Therefore, the Grazing method of animal husbandry should be replaced with immediate effect by Ranching.

Ranching is the practice of raising herds of animals on large tracts of land. A ranch is an area of landscape, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat, diary, skin or wool.

One of the major reasons why Ranching should be adopted over Nomadic Grazing is the elimination of the movement of animals from one part of the country to another thereby infringing on the rights of other citizens. Apart from averting crisis, research has also shown that animals that are ranched tend to be healthier than those that are being moved around.

In furtherance, ranching is a good source of revenue generation for state governments. Providing ranches in the 19 Northern States of Nigeria will go a long way in ensuring that cattle owners do not have to leave the state in search of vegetation for their animals thereby helping the government to keep tabs on revenue opportunities. For instance, if there are ranches in a state like Sokoto, the Sokoto Government can lease out such ranches to willing herders in exchange for money. Proper sensitization of herdsmen by the government can be carried out to give better understanding about the benefits that come with ranching.

SECURITY: Herdsmen over time, have always had dangerous encounters with cattle rustlers. Cattle rustling is the act of stealing cattle, which is made easy because of the nomadic nature of Fulani Herdsmen. Despite bitter encounters, the government have not been able to find a solution to cattle rustling and that is basically because it is almost impossible to provide security for an entity which happens to be on the move constantly. Animals that are ranched up in one location can be adequately provided with necessary security. The risk of being attacked and robbed in open fields will be greatly minimized because animals can be efficiently tracked and appropriately secured.

HEALTHCARE: As part of the benefits herdsmen will enjoy, ranches also enable animals to be tracked and properly given the needed medical attention. Government can set up veterinary facilities to ensure quality of animal production. This feature will be impossible if animals are being moved from one place to another in a nomadic method. In ranches, when animals need medical attention, all the farmer needs to do is to contact the closest veterinary facility to get help and because the veterinary personnel readily knows the location of the animals, response is swift and precise. Also, laboratories for animal medical researches can be set up to have a proper study of livestock in terms of behavioral patterns in comparison to weather, nutrition, climate and so many other factors. Such researches help in projections and provisions of certain inventions that may yet be beneficial to both farmers, animals and consumers of animal products such as leather, beef, dairy and other by products.

If government can generate funds from herdsmen by providing them with ranches, the outcome benefits of such collaboration is not quantifiable. From security, to healthcare, to improvement in livestock production, the benefits trump whatever benefits derived from the nomadic method of animal husbandry.

Since the Senate has stepped down the Grazing Bill and made it known publicly that finding a lasting solution to the issue of grazing is the sole responsibilities of State Governors, it is time the governors especially northern governors came together in a forum with sole purpose of mapping out plans to ensure the clashes between herdsmen and farmers come to a perpetual halt.

I have, in this piece made their job 50% easier. All the need to do is; do a little more research, fine-tune it and then implement.

Toke Makinwa and the Promotion of the Excesses of Youthful Exuberance. – Adeeko Ademola

While the outrage against Toke Makinwa’s recent video is somehow justified, I personally do not agree with the insults hurled at her. To begin with, she stated her opinion about how to live life to the fullest when one has the chance to. However, the examples given are way too crude, immoral and unworthy of a responsible person.


I don’t know Toke as a life coach or anything close to that but her recent advice is nothing but an endorsement of youthful exuberance which in itself is not bad but when moderation and caution is thrown out the window, one begins to wonder what the point of the video was actually.


Youthful exuberance simply means; the quality of being full of energy, excitement, and cheerfulness; ebullience. These laid down qualities comes most of the time in the wake of youthfulness. Hence, the name Youthful Exuberance.


At the age of 20, one is deemed a full adult and of course the characteristics attached to that age is categorized as exuberance.


While a lot of people kicked off that stage of their lives indulging in sex, alcohol, smoking and use of drugs, others have used that period to define a clear path for their future.


I’m not here to dictate how people should live their lives neither am I making rules that should be followed for living. I’m just trying hard to make sense of how having sex with strangers, inscribing tattoos and puncturing body parts formulate characteristics of living life to the fullest.


Yes, maybe Toke was just trying to tell us to live life to the fullest and all that it means to be a youth but truth is; there’s so much to life than all she listed and of course, which will still not cut out your youthful days or make those days boring.


Considering, the kind of society that we live in, I strongly believe that the window of youthfulness should be properly utilized in such a way and manner that will not truncate one’s life.


Take for example, the one-night-stand statement is an endorsement of pre-marital sex which could also come in form of unprotected sex. Do I need to go into details of what the results of that could be? I bet we already know.


Part of what Toke is endorsing is what some people did and they regret for the rest of their lives. Encouraging youthful exuberance and the “cool kid” social construct. Some have been plagued with unwanted pregnancies that has led to abortion which in turn led to death because abortion is illegal in Nigeria and that has given a flourishing window to quack medical practitioners to risk lives of young women in other to make fast cash.


Some lives have been forever truncated because of stuff like what Toke is promoting. These things (Youthful Exuberance) will always come in at a certain stage in one’s life and that is a constant giving. However, I think what a sensible adult should do is promote and encourage decency and moderation throughout that period.


We should remember that a lot of youths get lost in those years of youthful exuberance and it takes a lot of work to get their lives back on track. There’s much to life than being a typical 20 year old.


I can categorically tell you that I did lots of things my parents warned me against but truth is; a constant reminder of where I come from in form of my mother’s voice was the thin line between life and death for me.


I will never agree with Toke on some of the things she said. I’m cool with the “make friends” part even though, one still needs to be very careful with the kind of friends we make but the promotion of sex among youths is not the way to go.


I’m pretty sure most of you will never encourage your 20 year olds to have sex, well unless of course, you don’t see anything wrong with that.


I’m all for meeting people, building bridges, attending parties, traveling, forming alliances. As a matter of fact, I’m for the Live, Love, Laugh aspect of life but encouraging pre-marital sex, body piercing all in one statement is over-reaching. Here in lies the problem with Toke’s video. We already have a lot of misconducts being promoted in today’s media and that in itself is a huge societal problem.


In as much as youthful exuberance is a constant in the life of a growing child, I don’t think engaging in immorality under the guise of living life should be endorsed and encouraged in the way and manner Toke has.