Customs chief inspects ECOWAS/EU project at Seme border

The Controller of Nigeria Customs Service, Seme Command, Victor Dimka, has inspected the on-going project by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS ) at Seme Krake. The project, which is a joint venture between ECOWAS and EU, is geared towards towards building the border to international standards with modern equipment.

According to the site project manager of Grand Enterprise Route, (GER-SA) Siam Togo, Ago Soule, his company took over from the former contractor whose contract was terminated due to delay. “We won the bidding and started the contract in September and the contract was to last for eleven months. But many challenges were encountered especially on Benin Republic side of the border like several court injunctions stopping us from demolishing structures on the right of way, traders and transport operators, delay in getting exemption certificate to enable us bring in our equipment and more. That was why we were given extension by ECOWAS.”

He said that the project is tax and duty-free and assured the Controller of meeting the end of March, 2016 deadline.

He said the contract is worth over 11 million Euros. Soule sought the cooperation of Nigeria and their Benin Republic counterparts, especially in the area of traffic control since they intend closing part of the border in the course of completing the project.

In his response, Controller Dimka expressed satisfaction with the level of job done so far and the pace at which the project was being executed. Dimka said he was on a routine visit to the site to ascertain the level of work that has been done.

According to him, “we are committed to seeing that this job is completed as quickly as possible. That is why we are here to give them our unflinching support. “The place we are using temporarily belongs to Web Fontane which is hampering our operations.

“The contractor sent a message to us in respect of the closure of major routes where trucks and other vehicles operate. I immediately called a meeting of the stakeholders to see that their request is implemented on our side of the border.” He noted the absence of toilet facilities in the offices but said that building engineers had just got the building plan and were studying it to make input.

Dimka was accompanied to the project site by officers of the command.

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