Minister highlights benefits of Nigeria’s border closure

By Solomon Chung, Lagos 

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Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed says the recent closure of the  border has proven to be very rewarding to the country.

Speaking on Monday in Lagos, when he paid a courtesy call on the Sun Newspapers at the company’s new headquarters, the Minister said the closure has been very positive so far.

 “Apart from the billions that the Nigerian custom has raked in from payment of custom duty and other revenues, the border closure has directly boosted local agricultural activities. The country’s agricultural market has been improved tremendously and our local farmers are better for it. For example, poultry farmers are making it big, rice farmers and many others,”he said.

Mohammed affirmed that the border closure which has created jobs was not indefinite.

Mutually beneficial solution
He also stated that Nigeria and the other affected neighboring countries were still discussing and engaging to find a mutually beneficial solution to the border closure matter.

“We are being careful with the border issue. It also has to do with national security. We believe there is an international threat to our economy through some nefarious acts of smuggling,” the minister stated.

Mohammed also said the border closure was a matter that purely has to do with the protection of the best interest of Nigeria and nothing more.

He refuted insinuations from some quarters suggesting that the action was deliberately targeted at some neighboring African countries.

He however advised the neighboring countries affected by the action to do their home work properly.

“Every party involved must deliver their own part of the bargain,” Mohammed stated.

The Minister also said that Nigeria has done pretty well in the area of countering terrorism, fighting corruption and rejuvenation of the ailing economy.

“What Nigeria is facing is not just Boko Haram but a global terrorism. We have technically defeated Boko Haram but the face of the terrorism has appeared to have taken a global dimension. So, in the light of that, we are appealing  to the international community; UK, U.S, E.U and others  to join us in tackling it because it affects every part of the world, It is global,” he said.

On the broadcast industry reforms, the Minister said the idea was to check fake news and hate speech which has proven to create serious harm to Nigeria’s existence.

He reiterated that the broadcast industry reform was not an attempt to gag the media but rather a responsible action by the government to sanitise and protect the country.

 

Lateefah Ibrahim