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Dangote border waiver : Nigeria is rigged in favour of well-connected persons, says Atedo Peterside

Nigerians fume over exemption of Dangote from land border closure


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ATEDO Peterside, an economist and founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank has said that Nigeria is rigged in favour of well-connected persons.

He made this comment in reaction to the exemption given to Dangote Cement to move its products across the Nigerian border despite FG’s border closure.

 In a tweet, he questioned the action of the government that exempted only Dangote Company from complying with the land border closure.

“Allowing legitimate exporters and importers to move their goods across the border should be a no-brainer. Why refuse everybody else and allow only one company (Dangote)? This is why some of us argue that the Nigerian economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected persons,” Peterside posted.

According to media reports, Dangote company has been authorized by the Nigerian government to export cement to neighbouring African countries.

The report was said to have been confirmed by Michel Puchercos, the Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement.

Dangote group of companies is owned by Aliko Dangote, the African richest man.

Earlier in October 2019, the Federal government ordered the closure of all its land borders to curb smuggling and encourage internal production of food in the country.

 Nigerians on social media have condemned the FG’s decision that allowed one company to strengthen its monopoly.

“It’s the duty of government to discourage monopoly and create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive thereby creating more billionaires. Dangote is the biggest cabal in Nigeria,” said a Twitter user who identified himself as Olayinka.

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Osifeko Mark Olaniyi said the culture of ‘knowing someone’ to get things done in the Nigerian system has brought about injustice and inequality in the country.

“It is unfortunate that we run a “Man Must Know Man” economy in Nigeria. To get anything done in business, hospitals, schools, government institutions etc, you must know people. This has enshrined injustice, inequality, incompetence. It has built up anger and hatred. It is sad,” he stated.

Another Twitter user, who identified as Austine argued that Dangote’s business is not the only company affected in Nigeria, yet only his company was exempted.

“Is Dangote the only business affected by the bother closure, why single him out, why does Dangote keeps getting waivers,” he said.

Some claimed that before the exemption,  Dangote trucks have always been allowed to export through the Seme border to the Benin Republic.

“They have always been passing, even when borders were closed. Ask those who live around or ply the Seme border. Dangote trucks have always been passing even when the borders were closed,” Enyinwa John claimed.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Ogun State government also exempted Dangote trucks from the restriction of vehicular movements in the state.

The exemption was contained in a letter signed by Tokunbo Talabi, the Secretary to the State Government.

“This is to confirm that Dangote Plc. trucks are exempted from the restriction of movement and total lockdown of the State as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. You are requested to permit the trucks to move freely within the State because of essential multi-sectoral services the company renders to the public,” the letter read.

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