Real reason I ordered closure of borders – Buhari

Buhari with Nana Akufo-Addo

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has given the real reason he ordered the closure of the nation’s borders against West African neighbours.

He said the closure was not only about rice smuggling, but also because arms and ammunition, as well as hard drugs, were being ferried into Nigeria.

Holding a bilateral meeting Monday in London at the sidelines of UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 with President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, the Nigerian leader said he could not keep his eyes open, and watch youths being destroyed through cheap hard drugs, and compromised security caused by an 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,” President Buhari said.

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, which accounts for severe security challenges in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria.

“We are in fact the biggest victims,” he lamented.

On time frame for reopening the borders, President Buhari said it would not happen till the final report of a committee set up on the matter was submitted and considered.

“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,” the President said.

President Akufo-Addo, while showing an 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.”

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