President Muhammadu Buhari says he has not given any date for the reopening of the land borders, insisting that the closure would remain until the situation improved.
The president said that the country’s domestic fuel consumption had dropped by more than 30 per cent since the closure.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesperson, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said the president made the disclosure when he received a delegation of Katsina State Elders Forum in his country home in Daura, Katsina State.
Bihari said his administration’s directive on the border closure was meant to curb smuggling, especially rice, and that so far, the closures had saved the country huge sums on import bills.
He said his administration was betting on the same measures to rekindle the country’s agricultural rebirth.
The president lauded actions taken by the President of Niger Republic, Muhammadou Youssoufou, including the dismissal of officials and a ban on the use of the country as a dumping ground for Nigeria-bound smuggled goods.
Buhari noted that the measures taken by Niger were helpful and supportive of Nigeria’s goals.
He acknowledged the hardship of border communities following the ban on the sale of fuel at stations 20km to the border, a restriction that also saw to the closure of all fuel stations in his native home, Daura.
”Farmers must be protected, dishonesty is deep-rooted in the country. Otherwise, the border closure would not have been warranted,” he said.
He said the restriction was a temporary measure as the Nigerian Customs Service needed to ascertain outlets involved in real sale of products and those being used for smuggling.