© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Nigeria border: Buhari extends closure to January 2020
NIGERIAN President Muhammadu Buhari has given directive to the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) to keep the nation’s border closed till January 31, 2020.
The directive was contained in an official memo dated November 1, 2019, with reference number NCS/ENF/ABJ/221/S.45 addressed to the Sector Coordinators of the Joint Border Operation Drill – Sectors 1, 2, 3, and 4 and signed by Deputy Comptroller of Customs in charge of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspectorate, Victor Dimka,
Dimka wrote that the border closure so far has achieved overwhelming success considering its benefit to Nigeria’s security and economy.
However, he said Buhari has approved an extension of the exercise to January 31, 2020 due to an observation that a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved.
He instructed that the development be communicated to all personnel of the Custom Service for awareness and necessary action.
The memo further read that allowances for personnel sustenance and fueling of vehicles for the period of extension shall be paid as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the spokesperson for the Joint Border Security Exercise and National Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service, Joseph Attah, said the exercise so far has been able to record seized items worth N2,309,336,000,880.
He said the items consist of 437,225 jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit,, 363 vehicles, 32,814 bags of rice as well as several drugs, ammunition and guns.
He added that 203 illegal migrants and eight human traffickers had also been arrested since the inception of the operation.
The border closure has caused leaders of the neighbouring countries to appeal to their Nigerian counterpart, and has caused mixed reactions from Nigerians. While some believed it is a good step taken by the government, others believed otherwise.
Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana also recently advised the Federal Government as a matter of urgency to open the borders for national interest.
Analysis has shown that price of rice would continue to increase despite the hike from N12,500 to N25,000.