He gave the advise while delivering a paper on “Rule of Law, Good Governance and Economic Development” at the annual conference of the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Accra, Ghana.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria advised the Federal Government to dialogue with Nigeria’s neighbouring countries to jointly fight the menace of smuggling, which necessitated the border closure.
According to him, the endorsement of Nigeria’s border closure policy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be rejected.
“The borders should be reopened without any further delay as it cannot be sustained for too long without serious repercussions for the Nigerian economy,” Falana said.
“The neighbouring countries may retaliate by imposing a ban on goods being exported from Nigeria by air. They may also close down Nigerian banks and other businesses operating in other member states of the ECOWAS.
“Instead of resorting to the unilateral closure of borders the Federal Government should drag the Republics of Benin and Niger to the Court of Justice of the ECOWAS for breaching the ECOWAS Protocol by allegedly encouraging the smuggling of petrol, rice and other products. In the alternative, smuggling should be addressed like terrorism which is being jointly combated by Nigeria and her neighbours.”
The human rights lawyer noted that closure of the border was imposing undue punishment on law-abiding corporate bodies and community citizens.
Falana urged the Buhari government to expose the smugglers by arresting and prosecuting them.
“The smugglers in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries are well-known by the security agencies. Without official connivance, the crime of smuggling cannot thrive in the region,” he said.