Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his courageous decision on the partial closure of the land borders.
Addressing newsmen in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the National spokesman of the NSC and ‘ Operation Swift Response’, Joseph Attah said Nigerian farmers now smile to banks because of the ban on importation of rice into the country.
He said the implementation of the border closures directive has impacted positively on the nation’s economy.
Attah noted that the operation joint border drill which commenced operations in August 2019 has prevented smugglers from bringing foreign rice into the country and encouraged the consumption of local rice which is more nutritious by Nigerians.
On the gains of border closure, Attach said:” More jobs are created in the agriculture sector while the local industry has been stabilised.
Our series of interactions and engagements with Rice Millers Association of Nigeria since the commencement of this exercise has shown that the border closure has impacted positively.
“In the area of security, the ongoing exercise has recorded a number of seizures and arrests that would have had grave security consequences; 697 illegal immigrants have been arrested.
“Also, some items seized include 86,602 of 50 kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 1,172 vehicles; 2,997 drums filled with petrol; 16,771 jerry cans of vegetable oil; 66,000 litres of tankers of vegetable oil; 15,089 jerry cans of petrol and 695 bags of NPK fertilizer for making explosives.
“It is important to note that 90 percent illicit drugs and weapons that are being used for acts of terrorism and kidnapping in Nigeria today came in through our porous land borders. This means that the arms and ammunition these terrorists and criminal elements were using no longer gain entry into the country.”
Attah who said;” Nigerians are lucky to have a president who has the political will to order the closure of the nation’s land borders. We have leadership that’s decisive and know what is good for its people.”
“Nigeria remains committed to the ongoing diplomatic engagements to finding lasting solutions to the concerns that necessitated the partial border closure.
The government through diplomatic channels will continue to engage our neighbours on the need to comply with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transit. Goods that are on the prohibition list to Nigeria, such as rice, used clothing, poultry products, illicit drugs, vegetable oil should not be exported to Nigeria by our neighbours,” he stressed.
Attah added that the service used to generate between ₦4 billion and ₦5 billion daily since the border closure now generates between ₦5 billion and ₦6 billion daily to the country’s coffers and had seized contraband items worth ₦7.4 billion since the implementation of the policy.