The Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), retired Col. Hameed Ali has made known that the Nigerian government closed its borders in order to protect its economic interests, amongst other pressing issues.
Addressing border stakeholders during a meeting held on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at Seme, Ali admitted that the border closure was aimed at protecting the country’s economy, saying it was never intended to hurt anyone.
Ali said, “Our interest is to make sure that our country is secure, the well-being of our people is ensured, and our economy is secure. The step we have taken is in the interest of Nigeria, the step is not to hurt anybody but to protect our own interests as a nation.”
According to Ali, a lot of things had gone wrong regarding compliance with transit of goods. The customs boss explained that the border closure was to ensure that things were streamlined so that all stakeholders could be back to doing the right things.
“The idea is to ensure that the protocol that is involved in transit of goods and trade facilitation is adhered to so that we will all live and complement each other. The operation is undertaken to ensure that we get things back in perspective; we know the right thing, it is well written, we are all aware of it, we used to practise it, so we must go back to that,” he added.
Nairametrics reported that Nigeria’s borders in two regions were shut down at the instance of a directive from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), owing to the state of insecurity in the country.
The Seme Border, which is the busiest border between Nigeria and the Benin Republic, was one of the borders partially shut down by President Muhammadu Buhari to restrict the importation of rice into Nigeria.