Keep Nigeria’s borders closed—Nigerian senator appeals to Buhari

A Nigeria senator is adding petrol to fire in the case of the country’s closed border as he appeals to President Muhammadu Buhari, to resist pressure on him to open the nation’s land borders for now.

Adamu Abdullahi, who represents Nasarawa West Senatorial District, gave thumbs up to the Nigerian President for standing out to the challenges of insecurity.

There are thousands of Ghanaian cargo trucks stranded at the Benin-Nigerian border in Seme with agitations from Ghanaian businesses and traders to have the border open.

Making a case for the border closure, he said it is an antidote to many ills affecting Africa’s most populous country including an economy struggling to stay on its feet and corruption.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, he said the opposition to the closed borders was one being led by neighbouring nations’ smugglers and profiteers of the opened border where illegalities abound.

However, with West African leaders and trade associations in the sub-region spitting fire and diplomacy in equal measure, Nigeria is under intense pressure to open its borders in compliance with the ECOWAS protocol on the free movement of goods and services.

But the international pressure is not ticking the box for the senator who insists Nigeria has to first consider its survival before considering the impact of the closure on neighbours.

With smuggled goods and imports sucking the air out of Nigerian industries, Abdullahi said Nigeria must lay the foundation for its growth to prop her industries to grow.

Opening up

To him, the only time Nigeria should open its economic belly to others should be “when the unbridled appetites for foreign consumption are brought to perpetual control”

In a country with huge appetite for foreign goods, the senator said citizens of Africa’s biggest economy must learn to feed on what the country produces.

‘’No nation has such an unbridled appetite for imported materials, consumption of foreign foodstuffs like ourselves and that has to be brought under control,” he was quoted as saying in the Punch newspaper.

 “Our neigbouring countries have become gateways and transit route for all manners of commodities ranging from automobiles to foodstuffs such as rice, corns, sorghum, palm oil, tomatoes, eggs, and dairy products.

‘’The Republic of Benin became one of the world’s top importers of rice because of its Nigerian market. Almost all of the rice it imported from Thailand, Indonesia among others, found its way to Nigeria through the Seme border,” the Nigerian senator alleged.

Nigeria closed its borders with countries including Benin and Niger since August 20, 2019  in a move meant to curb the smuggling of large quantities of rice and other commodities.


  • In 2015, Nigeria spent nearly $2.9bn and $4.1bn in 2017, on rice imports.

  • The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, estimates that Nigeria’s rice production increased from an annual average of 7.1 million tonnes between 2013 and 2017 to 8.9 million tonnes in 2018.

  • As of 2018, the Nigerian government spent $165m subsidising rice production.

  • In November last year, the United States Department of Agriculture projected that China and Nigeria to remain the world’s largest importers of rice in 2019.

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