President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, said two months into closure of Nigeria’s land border, smuggling activities had been curbed.
Noting that he was not sure of re-opening date, Buhari said the decision will save the country billions of naira on import bills.Receiving a delegation of Katsina State Elders Forum at his country home in Daura, the President said the country’s domestic fuel consumption had dropped by more than 30 per cent, following closure of land borders.
Buhari said the borders will only be opened when “the situation improves”.
The President commended the actions taken by the President of Niger Republic, Muhammadou Youssoufou, including the dismissal of officials and a ban on use of the country as a dumping ground for Nigeria-bound smuggled goods.
The president noted that the measures taken by the President of Niger were helpful and supportive.
Buhari acknowledged the hardship of border communities following the ban on sale of fuel at stations 20 kilometres to the border, a restriction that also saw to the closure of all fuel stations in his native home, Daura.
”Farmers must be protected. Dishonesty is deep rooted in the country. Otherwise the border closer would not have been warranted,” he said.
According to him, the restriction was a temporary measure as the Nigerian Customs Service needed to ascertain outlets involved in real sale of products and those being used for smuggling.
President Buhari told the delegation that he intends forging ahead with poverty alleviation schemes and the agricultural and livestock reforms started by the administration in the first term, since the election was behind him and a government now in place.
He explained that the reforms, especially those relating to the settlement of livestock herders would take time to accomplish, assuring that his deliberate choice of tested farmers as his past and current ministers of agriculture was informed by the need to carry his vision through.