John Ameh, Abuja
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said on Friday that the partial closure of Nigeria’s land borders would remain in force.
He called on neighbouring countries affected negatively by the policy to be patient until the report of the tripartite committee made up of Nigeria, Benin and Niger Republic was ready.
Buhari spoke in Abuja when he received the President of Burkina Faso, Mr Roch Marc Christian Kabore, at the Presidential Villa.
He stated that Nigeria’s next action would be determined by the content of the report, an intervention by the Economic Community of West African States.
The Burkinabe leader heads the committee.
Buhari explained that security was the major reason Nigeria shut the borders.
“Our major problem is security; the inflow of weapons, ammunition and drugs.
“We have witnessed a decline in banditry using such weapons since the partial closure of the borders. Also, our farmers are now able to sell their rice since we stopped the inflow of foreign rice, usually dumped in the country,” he said.
However, he told Kabore that his regime was not unaware of the concerns raised by Nigeria’s neighbours over the border closure and was doing everything possible to take the next step.
“I will work as fast as I can as soon as I receive the report”, his media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted him as telling Kabore.
The Burkinabe leader earlier urged Buhari to reconsider his stance on the policy, saying that the committee he headed had looked into some of the issues Nigeria raised.
He claimed that some of the issues had been resolved.
Meanwhile, at a separate meeting with the Council for New Nigeria Initiative led by Senator Abu Ibrahim, the President called for more investment in agriculture.
He said the country was close to achieving food sufficiency as a result of policies his regime introduced to develop the agricultural sector.
The President explained, “With our vast population and land, agriculture is the way to go. We bumped into it by experience and common sense when we came in 2015. We encouraged people to go back to the land, and God has been kind to us, giving us three to four good rainy seasons in succession.”
“Those who went into farming have no regrets, and we now save millions of dollars that would have been expended on food importation. We are almost self-sufficient in food production, and that was why I told the Governor of the Central Bank that not even one cent should be given for food importation.
“We have got more people back to the land, employment is being generated, and we will do more of it.”
The CNNI, which is the successor to the National Committee for Buhari Support Groups.
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