Buhari opens on why he closed Nigeria’s land borders
President Muhammadu Buhari said by closing the land border, he gave Nigerians the option of either eating what the country grows or die.
Buhari said the country has the potential to produce its food, but Nigerians prefer bringing in rice from other countries for consumption.
As a result, Buhari said he deliberately closed the borders, considering Lake Chad to the Benin Republic is more than 1,600 kilometres and only God can effectively guard the borders.
Buhari made this known on Tuesday while inaugurating the new N19.6 billion customs headquarters in Abuja.
“Please note that from Lake Chad to the Benin Republic is more than 1,600 kilometres, only God can effectively guard the borders.
“So you need a person who has the energy and the competence to supervise. I deliberately closed the borders because knowing Nigerians, they order rice, give some to Niger and the rest, and then they bring the rice here,” Buhari said.
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The president added: “With our potential, we have people, we have land, and weather – how many nations are as lucky as Nigeria in the world, very few nations.
“So closing that border, 1,600 kilometres, Nigerians insist they eat boiled rice – you eat what you grow or you die. I tried to make my point and later Nigerians appreciated it.”
Speaking on his decision to appoint the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, the president stated, “As for Hameed Ali, I asked him to be in charge of customs. No matter what people say about the late Sani Abacha, may his soul rest in peace,” he said.
Defending the appointment, he said Ali was deliberately chosen because he wanted someone that will give him peace of mind.
“I knew him (Abacha) very well, when somehow he became president of this country, head of state, and the biggest problematic area was around Kaduna. He picked Colonel Hameed Ali and dumped the problems on him. My decision for Hameed Ali to come to customs was a deliberate one.
“(I brought) Colonel Hameed Ali to ensure that I have peace of mind,” Buhari pointed out.