President Muhammadu Buhari has broken silence over the partial closure of the Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic, popularly known as Seme border.
The border has been partially closed for eight days now and it is reported that the closure will last for 28 days.
This was made known by the president on Wednesday in a statement signed by Femi Adesina, his special adviser on media and publicity.
According to the statement, Buhari told Patrice Talon, his Beninois counterpart, on the sidelines of the seventh Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD7), in Yokohama, Japan on Wednesday.
Talon said the closure has caused suffering for Beninoise people.
In response, Buhari said the smuggling is threatening his administration’s agricultural policies.
“Now that our people in the rural areas are going back to their farms, and the country has saved huge sums of money which would otherwise have been expended on importing rice using our scarce foreign reserves, we cannot allow smuggling of the product at such alarming proportions to continue,” he said.
According to the president, the closure was to allow Nigeria’s security forces develop a strategy on how to stem the dangerous trend and its wider ramifications.
He also assured that he would reconsider reopening in the “not too distant” future adding that a meeting will be held with the presidents of Benin and Niger Republic.