The Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria has ordered the complete closure of the Nigerian borders, placing a ban on both legitimate and illegitimate movement of goods in and out of the country.
The Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service, retired Col. Hameed Ali, reportedly disclosed this in Abuja during a joint press briefing on joint border patrol that is codenamed ‘EX-SWIFT RESPONSE.”
According to him, all import and export of goods from the nation’s land borders are banned until there is an agreement with neighbouring countries on the kind of goods that should enter and exit Nigeria.
While providing further details, the Customs boss stated that all goods must only enter through the legitimate air and seaports where they can undergo thorough scanning and certified fit for consumption.
“We hope that by the time we get to the end of this exercise, we would have exactly between us and our neighbours agreed on the type of goods that should enter and exit our country.
“For now, all goods, whether illicit or non-illicit, are banned from going and coming into Nigeria. Let me add that for the avoidance of doubt that we included all goods because all goods can equally come through our seaports”, he said.
The Customs boss added, “For that reason, we have deemed it necessary for now that importers of such goods should go through our controlled borders where we have scanners to verify the kind of goods and how healthy to our people can be conducted.”
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari announced the partial closure of the Nigeria-Benin border on August 20th with the exercise code-named, ‘Ex-Swift Response’.
Basically, the Ex-SWIFT RESPONSE is coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) comprising the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies to address trans-border security issues.
However, speaking earlier, the Comptroller-General said the operatives of the ongoing Joint Border Security had seized items worth N1.4 billion since the partial closure of borders.
Although, some experts have criticized the partial closure of the border, stressing that it would rather trigger an increase in food prices within the economy.
The reported move by the government to completely shut the border means the Federal Government has staged a full-fledged policy statement against smuggling despite concerns earlier raised in some quarters.