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Boarder closure: Senators finally break silence on smuggling, others



The leadership of the national assembly on Wednesday commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the temporary border shut down stressing that it will allow the country restrategise her security architecture.

The Senate also urged the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior to increase diplomatic outreach to the governments of the Republic of Benin, Csmeroun , Niger and Chad to take urgent measures in stopping their countries from being used as smuggling base for illegal importation of unwanted goods into Nigeria .

ROYAL NEWS gathered that the closure of land borders by the federal government, took the front burner on the floor of the Senate where lawmakers were divided over the ongoing policy.

The arguments followed general debate on a motion titled: “The Impact of Border Closure on the Nigerian Economy”, sponsored by Senator Adamu Aliero, APC Kebbi Central, who said the policy economically and security wise.

But many of the other senators who contributed to the motion declared the policy as disastrous economically and should be urgently reversed.

Specifically, Senator Patrick Abba Moro, PDP Benue South, said while 87 official borders were affected in the closure while about 1, 900 unofficial borders around the country are still open for all manners of trans-border activities.

According to him,  it is better for the federal government to establish firms that would be producing products being smuggled into Nigeria than for the borders to be closed permanently.

Also in his contribution, Minority Leader of the Senate,  Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP Abia South, said the implications of the temporary closure of the borders was an indication that the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, the National Boundary Commission, and the various military and security agencies have failed in their responsibilities.

Abaribe therefore asked the federal government to open discussions with neighbouring countries so as to control the movement of unauthorised persons,  in and out of the country.

In his own, Senator Sani Musa, APC Niger East, noted that the border closure was not achieving the desired results.

He said most people who are smuggling banned products especially rice, are using commercial motorcycles to bring the products through illegal borders which are not in anyway affected by the closure.

Musa noted that the continued closure of the official borders would further put serious pressures and sufferings to the nation.

However, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, APC Kebbi South  justified the closure by saying that it  would enable Nigerians to formulate policy that will help us to find solutions to the issue.

Also Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, PDP Taraba South,  said the border closure is the best decision because it’s borders on security and economy.

He said land border closure would enable Nigeria to review it’s security architectures and act accordingly.

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