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President Muhammadu Buhari says border closure is not meant to punish neighbouring countries.
The federal government had in August partially closed its land borders.At the time, Buhari had said the the action was meant to check smuggling activities – the closure contravenes ECOWAS protocol on free movement of goods and persons within the sub-region.
Buhari at a meeting on Saturday with a select group of the Nigerian community in London, however, said the closure is to strengthen the country’s security and economy.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, said the president explained that the period of closure will be used for stock-taking on threats to the nation’s security and economy.
“He noted that Nigerian farmers have been celebrating the closure which has drastically reduced smuggling of agricultural produce as well as arms and ammunition,” the statement read.
“President Buhari attributed the country’s virtual food security position to the ‘very good last three rainy seasons;’ the federal government’s reduction in the price of fertilisers by 50 per cent and the presidential directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria not to give foreign exchange for food imports thereby saving the nations billions of naira.
“Commending Nigerians in the Diaspora for their huge home remittances – more than $25 billion in 2018 – the President also lauded their individual performances in their various fields of expertise.
“Explaining the achievements of his administration in implementing its three-point campaign agenda by focusing on fixing the economy, providing security and tackling corruption, the President said Nigeria’s ‘huge, vibrant youth population’ have been encouraged to go back to the farms and are “living decent and respectable lifestyles.”
“On security, he said ‘it is common sense that you can only run the country if it is secured,’ adding that the country ‘has not done badly in the northeast.’”
The president added that his administration has now focused on retrieving stolen fixed assets and returning the proceeds of the sale to the treasury through the treasury single account (TSA) “so that nobody can return them back to the convicts even after his tenure.”
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