Nigerians have been told to endure the temporary pains of the border closure by President Muhammadu Buhari. The decision has led to an increase in the price of farm produce, but the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) said the pains will be for the short-term.
Ali said Nigerians need to bear the initial pain, stating that the situation will stabilise eventually. According to him, there was no better time than now to make the border closure, adding that infrastructure doesn’t have to be perfect before such move is made.
The decision to shut the land border has been heavily criticised. The government was condemned for not giving manufacturers adequate time to adjust to the ripple effect of the border closure. The impact has gone beyond Nigeria, with other countries that are not sharing border with Nigeria also affected. Already, the Ghanaian and Vietnam governments have both visited Nigeria since the closure.
But according to Ali, “There will never be a good time. The decision of closing the border is ripe, we don’t need to have 100 per cent electricity, good roads before we take the step. Most importantly is that we must be able to bear the initial pains in order to stabilise and have long term successes.
“We don’t have to eat rice every day. There are other alternative food. I assure you that the price will stabilise and the ordinary farmers will have value for their farming business.”
Expired and re-bagged imported rice: Ali said rice being imported into Nigeria are expired, and in a way of avoiding detection, importers are re-bagging the rice. He said the market is currently saturated by the expired rice which have been cleaned with chemical, “All those things they are bringing into our country are aimed at bringing us to our knees. We must reach out to Nigerians for them to know the deadly effect of what they are consuming.
“We are consuming expired foreign rice. When it causes cancer, we begin to find who to blame. What they (importers) do is that they polish and rebag the rice after polishing it with chemicals for unsuspecting consumers to eat.” Ali said in a report.