The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has stated that the partial closure of the country’s land borders is meant to strengthen its economy and improve security.
Buhari said the measure was not introduced to punish Nigeria’s neighbours, an impression held in some quarters.
He spoke in London on Saturday during a meeting with a select group of the Nigerian community in the United Kingdom, according to a Presidency statement on Saturday.
He explained that after the closure, an assessment of the threats to the economy and security was being done, adding so far, farmers were the biggest beneficiaries of the policy.
Buhari noted that aside from the reduction in smuggling of food products, arms and ammunition smuggling too had been contained to a large extent.
The President told the session that his regime had slashed the price of fertiliser by 50 per cent, while the presidential directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria not to give foreign exchange for food imports, saved the country “billions of naira.”
The statement, which was released by Presidential Spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, read in part, “Commending Nigerians in the Diaspora for their huge home remittances, more than $25 billion in 2018, the President also lauded their individual performances in their various fields of expertise.
“Explaining the achievements of his administration in implementing its three-point campaign agenda by focusing on fixing the economy, providing security and tackling corruption, the President said Nigeria’s ‘huge, vibrant youth population’ have been encouraged to go back to the farms and are ‘living decent and respectable lifestyles.’”
Buhari also praised his regime, saying that it had “not done badly in the North East” in the counter-insurgency war.
Buhari further spoke on what his regime had done in fighting corruption, telling his listeners that the focus now was to recover stolen funds.