The Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), has given reasons why Nigeria’s land borders closed in 2019 may not be reopened very soon.
Ali said Nigeria and the neighbouring countries were still developing strategies to combat the insecurity and smuggling activities in the border areas. It was reported that the conclusion had not been made on the border security involving Nigeria, Benin, Niger and Cameroon.
The Customs boss said he believed an agreement would be sealed soon but until then, the closure of the land border would remain. He said:
“We are still working with them (neighbouring countries). There are some parameters and we have reached a certain understanding by refining some of those things.
“We need a process and a situation where our borders are secured and all the menace experienced at our borders will no longer be.”
According to him, the Customs is still working on those parameters and certain policies would be relaxed at the borders as soon as it begins to get to the concluding stage.
“But for now, we are still conducting our partial border closure under the drill and we are expecting that not too long from now when we get responsive adherence from our own neighbours, we will see how we can work together to fortify our border.
“We are not only talking about Nigeria but we are also asking them to ensure that their own borders are fortified against illicit activities,” Ali said in a Punch report.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed that he would not order the reopening of the country’s land borders till the final report of the committee set up on the matter was submitted and considered.
He insisted that the borders were not only shut to prevent smuggling of food items but to also combat the smuggling of arms and ammunition, as well as hard drugs being ferried into the country.
President Buhari said it was regrettable that the border closure was having a negative economic impact on the neighbouring countries but Nigeria cannot afford to endanger its people, particularly the youths.