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LAGOS, NIGERIA.     Tuesday, April 08 2003






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Belgium cautions against govt fairly-used vehicle importation policy
By Ayo Ashaolu

THE government of Belgium one of the largest sources of fairly used vehicles has decried the Federal Government eight year old second hand cars import policy on importation of vehicles which put a ceiling of eight years on vehicles imported into the country.

Articulating the position of the Belgian government on the policy, Nigerian Ambassador to Belgium, Mr. Gabriel Akunwafor said authorities in Belgium are of the opinion that the policy may hinder trade relations between the two countries, with Nigerian being the largest exporter of vehicles from Belgium, Akunwafor said such policy, as enumerated by Belgian authorities, will drastically attest export trade between the two countries.

Besides, he said the authorities in Belgium is of the opinion that such policy will not be to the advantage of Nigeria and Nigerians as it will lead to rapid increase in the cost of vehicles as they may now be routed through other border towns.

Besides, the argue that vehicles over the prescribed age are still very good because of the good road network in most developed nations.

The Belgian and Nigerian governments have commenced negotiation on possible review of their immigration laws.

The Nigerian Ambassador disclosed that the review laws, the governments of both countries would accept the responsibility for the rehabilitation of deportees when deported into Nigeria.

This according to him, is to ensure that the affected deportees does not end up in the prisons.

Rather, he said under the proposed law, the deportees will have the opportunity of being properly rehabilitated by being sent into proper rehabilitation homes, empower them and provide them with the right infrastructure.

Although Akunwafor said the governments of both countries are not responsible for their condition, he insisted that such people need to be protected since most of them did not bargain for what they end up getting illegal immigrants into Belgium will no longer face deportation, but assisted in settling down for something legal.

The law he added will also protected girls involved in prostitution which is a legal business in Belgium against deportation.

"Rather, when it is proved that the girls is being trafficked, the law would ensure that those who brought her to Belgium must provide her with good job since that was what was promised them before bringing them to Belgium.

His words: "I am not saying that prostitution is a good job but I think they desire to be humanly treated. That is why we are into negotiation and agreement on immigration matters so that those who are staying illegally in Belgium will not just be bonded and sent back to Nigeria."

He explained that most of the girls involved in prostitution do so under the influence of powerful syndicates who lure them into the business without knowing it.

Akunwafor said a lot of girls have tried in the past to get out of the business but this has been made impossible because of the difficulties involved.


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