Buhari Speaks On Re-opening Land Borders
President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the closure of land borders will continue until neighboring countries comply with the rules governing cross-border trade.
YANS gathered that Buhari made the disclosure when he received a delegation of Katsina State Elders Forum in his country home in Daura, Katsina State.
The president said Nigeria’s domestic fuel consumption had dropped by more than 30 percent since the closure, thus suggesting that about a third of reported fuel consumption by Nigeria was being smuggled to neighbouring countries where petrol price is much higher.
Mr. Buhari said his administration’s directive on the border closure was meant to curb smuggling, especially rice, and that so far, the closures had saved the country huge sums on import bills.
He said his administration was betting on same measures to rekindle the country’s agricultural rebirth.
The president lauded actions taken by the President of Niger Republic, Muhammadou Youssoufou, including the dismissal of officials and a ban on the use of the country as a dumping ground for Nigeria-bound smuggled goods.
Mr Buhari noted that the measures taken by Niger were helpful and supportive to Nigeria’s goals.
He acknowledged the hardship of border communities following the ban on the sale of fuel at stations 20km to the border, a restriction that also saw to the closure of all fuel stations in his native home, Daura.
"Farmers must be protected, dishonesty is deep-rooted in the country. Otherwise, the border closure would not have been warranted,” he said.
He said the restriction was a temporary measure as the Nigerian Customs Service needed to ascertain outlets involved in real sale of products and those being used for smuggling.
Recall that Nigeria partially closed its land borders in August, mainly to check the mass smuggling of products like rice and petrol.
In October the Comptroller-General of the Nigerians Customs Service, Hameed Ali, announced that “all goods, for now, are banned from being exported or imported through our land borders and that is to ensure we have total control over what comes in.”