Border closure: FG says N2.3tn smuggled guns, rice and petrol have been seized in 3 months

203 illegal migrants and eight traffickers have also been arrested.

Nigerian land borders have been partially closed since August 2019.  (Punch)

On August 20, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a partial closure of land borders in the country to tackle smuggling of rice and other goods into Nigeria.

The exercise, which is being coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser involves the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army.

Since the partial closure of the borders, items like guns, ammunition, rice, vehicles, drugs and jerrycans of petrol are said to have been seized. 

In an interview with Punch, the National Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service, Joseph Attah disclosed that some successes have been recorded since the closure of borders.

He said, “The worth of the seizures as of October 30, 2019 is N2,309,336,000,880. This is the cumulative sum of the various seizures.”

According to him, some of the items that have been seized by joint border security agencies include “437,225 jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, 363 vehicles, 32,814 bags of rice as well as several drugs, ammunition and guns.”

He also said that 203 illegal migrants and eight traffickers had also been arrested.

Leaders of neighbouring countries have reportedly been prompted to react to the partial closure of Nigerian land borders.

Presidents Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Patrice Talon of Benin Republic have recently urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to reopen its land borders.

It has been reported that the closure of the borders has severely affected the economies of their country. 

Meanwhile, on August 28, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari had during a meeting with his Beninois counterpart, Patrice Talon at the Seventh Tokyo International Conference for African Development, in Yokohama, Japan said the closure of Nigeria’s borders with the Benin Republic was meant to tackle smuggling of rice through that corridor.

Also, Ghanaian President, while addressing the delegation of a Nigerian commercial bank on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, said he hoped that talks between Nigeria and his country over border closure would yield positive results, Punch reports.

He said, “There is a lot of room for continuing talks between Nigeria and Ghana in order for a breakthrough to be reached.”

Border closure will reduce kidnapping and ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’

Speaking about the successes of the Federal Government’s decision on border closure, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele on Friday, November 1, 2019, said security challenges and cyber crimes in Nigeria would reduce if government sustains border closure for two years.

Emefiele said this as a guest speakers in Edo State at the 1st convocation lecture of Edo University.

He said, “I can tell you that, if Nigeria decides to close the borders for two years, the incident of ‘yahoo yahoo’ boys, kidnapping for ransom, armed banditry, and robbery will reduce to the barest minimum.

“These guys will have no option but to go into agriculture.”

Earlier, Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ali (retd.) had said that border closure would be sustained until neighbouring countries complied with the ECOWAS protocols on transit of goods.

Speaking at a meeting with borse stakeholders and security agencies in September 26, Ali emphasised that the closure of the border was undertaken to strengthen the Nigeria’s security and protect its economic interests.

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