The closure of Nigeria’s borders by Federal Government was undertaken to strengthen the nation’s security and protect its economic interests, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, retired Col. Hameed Ali, has said.
Speaking during a meeting with border stakeholders, comprising freight forwarders and security agencies on Thursday at Seme, Ali said that the closure was not intended to hurt anyone but to protect the nation’s interests.
“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,” he said.
Also present at the meeting were Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic, Kayode Oguntuase, Comptroller General Immigration, Mohammed Babandede and Brig. Gen. E.A Ndagi, Coordinator of Joint Border Security Exercise, among others.
The NCS boss said that lots of things had gone wrong regarding compliance with the transit of goods, adding that the border closure was to ensure that things were streamlined so that all stakeholders would go back to doing the right things.
“The idea is to ensure that the protocol that is involved in the 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; we know the right thing, it is well written, we are all aware of it, we used to practise it, so we must go back to that.”
Ali said that the freight forwarders were critical stakeholders at the borders and urged them to ensure compliance with the rules regarding the transit of goods.