President Muhammadu Buhari has given the reason for the partial closure of the Nigeria-Benin border.
The President said the closure of Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic was due to the massive smuggling activities, especially of rice, taking place on that corridor.
He made the revelation while speaking with the Beninois President, Patrice Talon, at the Seventh Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD7), in Yokohama, Japan on Wednesday.
The president said the activities of the smugglers threatened the self-sufficiency already attained due to his administration’s agricultural policies.
“Now that our people in the rural areas are going back to their farms, and the country has saved huge sums of money which would otherwise have been expended on importing rice using our scarce foreign reserves, we cannot allow smuggling of the product at such alarming proportions to continue,” he said.
Mr Buhari said the limited closure of the country’s western border was to allow Nigeria’s security forces develop a strategy on how to stem the dangerous trend and its wider ramifications, Premium Times reports.
Responding to the concerns raised by President Talon on the magnitude of suffering caused by the closure, President Buhari said he had taken note and would reconsider reopening in the not too distant future.
He, however, disclosed that a meeting with his counterparts from Benin and Niger Republics would soon be called to determine strict and comprehensive measures to curtail the level of smuggling across their borders.