The Federal Government yesterday gave an indication of reopening Nigerian borders which were closed since August last year.
Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who disclosed this during a roundtable discussion at the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES #26), said that a committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari had done an assessment of the gains of the closure and had recommended to the President to reopen the borders. In view of the recommendation, she was optimistic that the President would act on the recommendation soon.
Although, the Minister did not give the date of the reopening, she, however, gave assurance that the borders would be reopened soon.
“We have made an assessment. The President set up a committee and we have made an assessment and all the members of the committee agreed and are recommending to the President that it is time to reopen the borders. The objective has been met in the sense that we have been able, over these couple of months, to work together with our partners in a tripartite committee and do a joint border patrol together and reinforced the sanctity of the commitments that we made to each other. So, each side has learnt its lesions. Nigeria has been affecting our partners in terms of businesses that we have in Nigeria as well. So, we will be expecting that the borders will be reopened very soon. The date will be decided by Mr President” she said.
Nigeria is the largest economy and the most prosperous of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). But it suddenly closed its land borders on August 2019 because of the proliferation of illegal importation of drugs, small arms and agricultural products into Nigeria from neighbouring West African Countries.
The closure of the borders was also to encourage rice farmers and make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production which made Nigeria to produce over 3.7 million tonnes of rice annually.