President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic at Seme in Lagos, was partially closed to check smuggling activities.
The border has been closed for eight days now, leaving travellers stranded as Immigration and Customs say it’s a security drill.
Speaking when he met Patrice Talon, his Beninois counterpart, on the sidelines of the seventh Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD7), in Yokohama, Japan on Wednesday, Buhari said smuggling is threatening his administration’s agricultural policies.
According to Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Talon said the closure has caused suffering for Beninoise people.
“Now that our people in the rural areas are going back to their farms, and the country has saved huge sums of money which would otherwise have been expended on importing rice using our scarce foreign reserves, we cannot allow smuggling of the product at such alarming proportions to continue,” Buhari was quoted to have said.
According to the president, the closure was to allow Nigeria’s security forces develop a strategy on how to stem the dangerous trend and its wider ramifications.
He also assured that he would reconsider reopening in the “not too distant” future adding that a meeting will be held with the presidents of Benin and Niger Republic.