NIGERIA’S President Muhammadu Buhari has said that closure of the borders between Benin Republic and Niger has led to food security in Nigeria.
Buhari spoke on Friday, June 11, during an exclusive interview with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Abuja.
It would be recalled that in August 2019, barely three months after signing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Nigeria closed its borders with neighboring countries such as Benin Republic, Cameroon, Chad and Niger in a bid to stem influx of goods into the country.
President Buhari also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to halt the provision of foreign exchange to businessmen for the importation of food, in a move to encourage the production and consumption of homegrown food.
The border closure was heavily criticised by many, and experts said it violated commercial and freedom of movement treaties signed under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
However, the Nigerian president said the temporary closure led to a boost in the country’s revenue through customs levies, created opportunities for job creation and had brought about food security.
“There are people who left air-conditioned office and went back to the farm and that was positive for Nigeria. Now our own rice is fresh and available in the market,” Buhari said.
Although the borders have been reopened, Nigerians have, in recent times, expressed concern about soaring prices of commodities in the market.
Farmers say high cost of inputs, insecurity, farmer-herder crisis and poor logistics are responsible for rising food inflation in the country.