A Federal Government delegation, known as the Presidential Committee, headed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Dr Lai Mohammed, has arrived in Katsina for the furtherance of its inspection on border operational regulations concerning the border closure of the past three months.
The team, which consisted of the Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, and Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, upon arrival, proceeded to the Magama Jibia border shared with the Republic of Niger.
They are required to give reports of discoveries to newsmen and the public at the completion of their inspections.
Reports suggest that the team had earlier visited Seme Border in Lagos and had discovered shipments coming from the Republic of Benin, containing rice destined for the Nigerian market with the target set for the incoming Christmas period.
Lai Mohammed noted that the high degree of seizures and the number of illegal immigrants from Benin and Niger that have been detained so far have shown that the countries are yet to tackle these challenges.
The minister added that the border closure has seen the local consumption of fuel reduce by 30% and the monthly import revenue increase by 15% instead of the expected reduction.
According to the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria, the border closure has contributed to the upsurge in the production and milling of Nigerian rice. This has also increased the patronage of locally made rice which has also generated revenue for the government intended for the construction of infrastructure and the development of the nation’s critical sectors.
He further explained that the border closure has limited the smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries. The items seized since the start of the border closure have an estimated value of ₦3.5 billion.