President Muhammadu Buhari has explained that the Nigeria-Benin boarder closure is just another measure towards checking massive smuggling activities, especially rice.
This he made clear when he granted audience to Speaking with Patrice Talon, his Beninois counterpart, during the seventh Tokyo International Conference for the African Development (TICAD7) in Yokohama, Japan; President Buhari revealed that smuggling is making his administration’s agricultural policies seem difficult to achieve.
According to Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Talon said the closure has caused suffering for Beninoise people.
“Now that our people in the rural areas are going back to their farms, and the country has saved huge sums of money which would otherwise have been expended on importing rice using our scarce foreign reserves, we cannot allow smuggling of the product at such alarming proportions to continue,” Buhari was quoted to have said.
According to the president, the closure was to allow Nigeria’s security forces develop a strategy on how to stem the dangerous trend and its wider ramifications.
He also assured that he would reconsider reopening in the “not too distant” future adding that a meeting will be held with the presidents of Benin and Niger Republic.