Border closure will help Nigeria –Emir Sanusi

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Acheme Jack, Kano

Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II has expressed his support on the partial closure of Nigeria’s land borders with neigbhouring countries of Niger and Benin Republics.

Sanusi, during an interview with newsmen at his palace in Kano state north western Nigeria said that the policy is the only way to effectively enforce the country’s anti-smuggling laws, especially the effort towards consumption of home grown foods.

The former CBN governor blamed the high rate of tax evasion in Nigeria and continued smuggling of food items and other commodities from foreign countries.

Evading tariffs and tax 
He said there were situations where goods landing in neighbouring country’s port like Cotonou in Benin Republic and being smuggled across the land border to Nigeria, evading tariffs and tax revenue in Lagos, which does not augur well for the country.

He stressed that petroleum products were being easily smuggled to neighbouring countries illegally through the land borders because of the fuel subsidy regime in Nigeria

“You have goods coming in across the border using the port in Cotonou to avoid tax revenues in Lagos; so what happens is we don’t get the revenue from duties and tariffs and then we end up having the goods coming in anyway,” he stressed.

Welcome development
The Emir said he once intimated President Mohammudu Buhari on the need to close the Nigeria borders in one of his numerous visits to Kano state, as such it is a welcome development.

“If you remember when the president came to Kano on an official visit I actually talked about closing the borders with the Republic of Benin. I always felt that if you really want to enforce laws that you have against smuggling you need to close borders, you have petroleum products moving basically across the borders from Nigeria to neighbouring countries because of our fuel subsidies,” the emir said.

The exercise which began last month August to secure Nigeria’s land and maritime borders, code-named, ‘Ex-Swift Response,’ was being jointly conducted by the customs, immigration, police and military personnel and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

Lateefah Ibrahim