The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Retired Col. Hameed Ali, has revealed that the Nigerian borders will remain closed to neighbouring African countries until they agree on existing ECOWAS movement protocol.
According to him:
“But there is no specific time for opening the borders. However, if they agree with us tomorrow on the existing laws, then we sign and update the existing protocol of transit, that’s all.
“And we are looking forward to meeting with them and there are moves to sit with them to make them understand why we are doing what we are doing and what we want to achieve by doing what we are doing,” Ali said.
When asked about the consequences of closing the borders, he said, “if you check our website, you will see the seizures and interception we have made.”
According to the Comptroller General, closing the borders has its benefits as it has blocked the importation of contraband products.
A contraband product he cited was the importation of foreign-produced rice into Nigeria. By impeding the unfettered importation of foreign rice, the sales and production of locally grown rice can thrive
In his own words:
“We are able to completely block the influxes of illicit goods, and most importantly, stop the exportation of petroleum product which is the biggest problem we have.
“We have also stopped the influx of rice and our rice is now selling.
“Even those selling garri that have been abandoned because there was cheap rice are making brisk business.
“This is because people are now buying garri as food. So, I think the economy is now picking up and we are grateful for that.”
Ali also warned that Nigerian Customs officers who accept bribe from smugglers if caught will face the full wrath of the law.
He went on to say petty traders affected by the closure of the borders were acceptable collateral damage in the interest of Nigeria’s economic growth.
These border control updates were made on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, at Maigatari/Niger border, Maigatari Local Government Area of Jigawa State.