President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday explained why the closed borders have not been reopened. He said criminals used the borders to undermine the nation’s security.
President Buhari said his administration took the measure to stop the thriving proliferation of arms, ammunition and hard drugs across the borders.
The President spoke during a bilateral discussion with his Ghanaian counterpart, Nana Akufo-Addo, on the side-lines of the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 in London.
A statement by his Special Adviser (SA) on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, quoted the President as saying he could not allow the nation’s youths being destroyed by drugs and compromised security caused by unbridled influx of small arms.
“When most of the vehicles carrying rice and other food items through our land borders are intercepted, you find cheap hard drugs and small arms under the food items. This has terrible consequences for any country,” President Buhari said.
He regretted that the partial border closure was having “negative economic impact on our neighbours,” but added that “we cannot leave our country, particularly the youth, endangered”.
The President said the Sahel region was awash with small arms, which accounts for severe security challenges in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria.
“We are in fact the biggest victims,” he said.
On time frame for reopening the borders, President Buhari said it would not happen until the final report of a committee set up on the matter is submitted and perused.
“We will get things sorted out. Our farmers, especially those who grow rice, now have a market, and are happy, and we are also concerned about hard drugs and weapons. Once the committee comes up with its recommendations, we will sit and consider them,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo, though expressed understanding that Nigeria needed to protect its citizens, pleaded for “an expedited process, because the Nigerian market is significant for certain categories of business people in Ghana”.