President Muhammadu Buhari says reopening of the land borders will not happen until the final report of a committee set up on the matter is submitted and considered.
He said this yesterday while holding a bilateral meeting in London at the sidelines of UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 with President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.
Buhari said the partial closure of Nigeria’s borders was not caused solely because food products, particularly rice, were being smuggled into Nigeria; but also because arms and ammunition as well as hard drugs were being ferried into Nigeria.
He said he could not open his eyes and watch youths being destroyed through cheap hard drugs, and compromised security caused by unbridled influx of small arms.
“When most of the vehicles carrying rice and other food products through our land borders are intercepted, you find cheap hard drugs, and small arms, under the food products. This has terrible consequences for any country.”
He said it was regrettable that the partial border closure was having “negative economic impact on our neighbours,” but added that “we cannot leave our country, particularly the youths, endangered.”
The president said the Sahel region was awash with small arms accounting for severe security challenges in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria.
“We are in fact the biggest victims. We will get things sorted out. Our farmers, especially those who grow rice, now have a market, and are happy, and we are also concerned about hard drugs and weapons. Once the committee comes up with its recommendations, we will sit and consider them,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo, while showing understanding of the need for Nigeria to protect her citizens, pleaded for “an expedited process, because the Nigerian market is significant for certain categories of business people in Ghana.”