President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the partial closure of Nigerian land borders has saved the country millions of dollars, curtailed importation of drugs and proliferation of small arms and importation of food items, especially rice.
He noted that the measure has given Nigeria some insights to its potentials.
The president made the statement on Tuesday at the State House in Abuja, during an audience with the outgoing President of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) and his successor, Dr George Nana Donkor.
According to a statement by Mallam Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, the President said: “We have saved millions of dollars. We have realised that we don’t have to import rice. We have achieved food security.”
He further noted that ‘‘We have curtailed the importation of drugs and proliferation of small arms which threaten our country.”
Meanwhile, pleas by neighbouring countries for a reassessment of the decision led to the constitution of a tripartite committee. The committee is saddled with the responsibility of reviewing and harmonizing interests in the border closure including Nigeria, Benin Republic and Niger Republic.
However, President Buhari promised that Nigeria will be ready to abide by the decision of the committee after receiving its report.
He thanked the outgoing ECOWAS Bank President for the improvements recorded in his eight-year tenure and urged his successor to build on those achievements.
In his remark, the outgoing chief told the president that the bank no longer recorded losses as it has been transformed into a profit-making venture, with commitments from ECOWAS member-states doubling to 1.4 billion dollars.
Also, the incoming president, Donkor, thanked the Nigerian leader and its people for their support in his emergence. ‘‘Without Nigeria, I could not have emerged,’’ he said.
Donkor, who credited President Buhari’s economic strategies as captured under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for the success, pledged total commitment to partnering with Nigeria towards achieving rapid development in the country and the rest of West Africa.
According to him, the initiative has contributed to economic recovery, stability, and food security in the country.