The closure of Nigeria’s borders by the Federal Government was undertaken to strengthen the nation’s security and protect its economic interests, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (retd), has said.
Speaking during a meeting with border stakeholders, comprising freight forwarders and security agencies on Thursday at Seme, Ali said the closure was not intended to hurt anyone but to protect the nation.
“Our interest is to make sure that our country is secure, the well-being of our people is ensured and our economy is secure.
“The step we have taken is in the interest of Nigeria, the step is not to hurt anybody but to protect our own interests as a nation,” Ali said.
Ali was accompanied to the meeting by Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic, Kayode Oguntuase, Comptroller General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede and Brig. Gen. E.A Ndagi, Coordinator of Joint Border Security Exercise, among others.
The NCS boss said over the years things had gone wrong regarding compliance with transit of goods across the borders. Ali said the border closure was to ensure that the right thing was done.
“The idea is to ensure that the protocol that is involved in transit of goods and trade facilitation is adhered to so that we will all live and complement each other.
“The operation is undertaken to ensure that we get things back in perspective.”
Ali said that the freight forwarders were critical stakeholders at the borders and urged them to ensure compliance with rules regarding transit of goods.
“We cannot do business without you, but compliance is lacking between you and our officers. Most of the things we do, we don’t comply with rules and that’s why we end up with weapons, and tramadol that killed our children.”