Contrary to reports that were making the rounds on Sunday that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the extension of the closure of Nigeria’s borders to January 31, 2020, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has made clarifications.
According to the NCS Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, the date approved by the President was only the date for the end of the first phase of the operation, not the terminal date for the entire border closure.
Attah made known that this type of operations come in phases and so January 31, 2020, is just the conclusion of a phase. He said that the borders would remain closed indefinitely until the objectives of the government for the operation had been fully achieved.
However, he said that security officers on the field would be notified of further development about the second phase of the border closure before January.
Meanwhile, Hameed Ali, Comptroller General, NCS, had earlier restated stance on border closure, saying that it would remain closed until Nigeria’s neighbours decided to respect ECOWAS protocol concerning trade within the subregion.
He told Nigerians to endure the temporary pains of the border closure as it would be only for a short while. Ali was quoted to have said that Nigerians should keep calm because the situation would stabilise eventually. According to him, there was no better time than now to make the border closure, adding that infrastructure doesn’t have to be perfect before such move is made.
“There will never be a good time. The decision of closing the border is ripe, we don’t need to have 100 per cent electricity, good roads before we take the step. Most importantly is that we must be able to bear the initial pains in order to stabilise and have long term successes.
“We don’t have to eat rice every day. There are other alternative food. I assure you that the price will stabilise and the ordinary farmers will have value for their farming business,” the Customs boss said.