President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his decision to close Nigeria’s land borders, emphasizing that it was aimed at encouraging Nigerians to produce their own food.
Speaking during the inauguration of the new customs headquarters, which was constructed at a cost of N19.6 billion, President Buhari explained that although the move initially faced criticism, Nigerians eventually came to appreciate its importance.
The customs headquarters is situated in the Maitama district of the federal capital territory (FCT).
President Buhari stressed the challenges of effectively guarding the extensive borders spanning over 1,600 kilometers, from Lake Chad to Benin Republic, and emphasized the need for competent supervision.
He revealed that the deliberate closure of the borders was prompted by the prevalent practice of Nigerians ordering rice, diverting some to neighboring countries, and bringing the remainder back into the country.
Highlighting Nigeria’s vast potential in terms of resources, population, arable land, and favorable weather conditions, President Buhari underscored the importance of self-sufficiency.
He stated that closing the border was intended to encourage Nigerians to consume what they produce, particularly in terms of rice. The President expressed his satisfaction that Nigerians eventually recognized the significance of the border closure.
President Buhari also addressed the appointment of Hameed Ali as the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), citing his experience and competence. He praised Ali’s ability to successfully handle problematic tasks assigned to him by the late former Head of State, Sani Abacha.
In response, Comptroller-General Ali commended President Buhari’s intervention in combating corruption within the NCS. He credited the significant increase in the remuneration of customs personnel, which has made them less vulnerable to corruption.
The inauguration of the new customs headquarters and President Buhari’s remarks underscore the government’s commitment to securing Nigeria’s borders, promoting self-sufficiency in food production, and fostering integrity within the customs service.
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