By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in London held a bilateral meeting with his Ghanaian counterpart, Nana Akufo-Addo, and gave more information on why Nigeria’s borders were partially closed.
Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja, said the meeting was held at the sidelines of UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020.
The Nigerian leader stated that the partial closure of the borders were not solely because food products, particularly rice, were being smuggled into Nigeria, but also because arms and ammunition, as well as hard drugs were being ferried into Nigeria.
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 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,” he 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.”
According to him, the Sahel region is 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,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo, while showing 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.”