By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Wednesday, said President Muhammadu Buhari will soon receive a report of a presidential committee to advise on the reopening of the nation’s borders.
Nigeria, the largest economy and the most prosperous of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), last year August closed its land borders on account of the proliferation of illegal importation of drugs, small arms and agricultural products into Nigeria from neighbouring West African countries.
Ahmed was responding to a question on when Nigerian borders closed since August last year will be reopened at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided.
According to her, the committee set up by President Buhari had assessed the gains of the closure and had recommended to the president to reopen the borders.
Members of the committee her ministers of finance, budget and national planning, interior and foreign affairs.
She said once members of the committee sign the report, it will be submitted but she was silent on the day of submission and also the date of the reopening.
Ahmed had at a roundtable discussion at the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES #26), gave the assurance that the borders would be reopened soon.
She had told the audience at the NES #26 that: ‘We have made an assessment. The president set up a committee and we have made an assessment and all the members of the committee agreed and are recommending to the president that it is time to reopen the borders. The objective has been met in the sense that we have been able, over these couple of months, to work together with our partners in a tripartite committee and do a joint border patrol together and reinforced the sanctity of the commitments that we made to each other. So, each side has learnt its lessons. Nigeria has been affecting our partners in terms of businesses that we have in Nigeria as well. So, we will be expecting that the borders will be reopened very soon. The date will be decided by Mr President.’