A member of the House of Representative representing Daura/Mai’adua/Sandamu Constituency, Katsina State, Fatuhu Muhammed, has revealed how massive smuggling is still taking place in Daura, the hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari, despite the closure of Nigeria’s land border by the Federal Government.
Muhammed, a nephew of President Buhari, said during plenary last week in Abuja that smuggling is still thriving at the border between Daura and Niger, which is just 13 kilometres away from President Buhari’s private residence.
He spoke on the floor of the lower legislative chamber following the adoption of a motion sponsored by another representative from Katsina, Sada Soli, for the NCS to lift ban on the supply of petroleum products to land border stations within 20 kilometres of Nigerian borders.
The lawmaker, who condemned the unilateral directive by the Comptroller General of Customs to ban the supply of petroleum products within 20 kilometres to the country’s land borders, lamented the hardship people in his constituency and others living in the border communities were going through as a result of the policy.
He said there is need to summon the Customs boss to explain to Nigerians the rationale behind the decision to ban sale of petroleum products within 20 kilometres to the country’s border.
He said, “I was ambushed by the committees in Daura due to the hardship they are facing there as a result of the closure of the border and ban on supply of fuel within 20 kilometres on instruction given by the Customs.
“From Daura to Kongolam, which is the international border, it is just 18 kilometres, in fact from Mr President’s house, even his bedroom to the border is just 13 kilometres. We all know that the borders are closed, but they still allow things to go in and out. I am a living witness to that. A day before yesterday, I was there around 1am, nobody knew, but I saw what they were doing.
“So the Customs need to be invited here and questioned. We need to know what is going to happen before you take any instruction; such very weighty orders to shut down the borders 20 kilometres.
“Please I need the support from each and every member, things are happening at the border despite the fact that they are closed, they are not closed, they pay each car in the night to go in and each car in the night to come in from Niger. We should not deceive ourselves. If we want to do the right thing, let’s do it and if we are not going to, let’s allow it.”
Mixed reactions have continued to trail the closure of the nation’s land border since August 20. While some have commended the move, others, including the organised private sector, said the joint border exercise was mainly targeted at importers and exporters from the southern part of the country as smuggling and other illegal activities persist at the border towns in the northern part.