Muhammadu Sanusi II, the emir of Kano, says he supports the federal government’s decision to close the land borders because of the need to protect rice farmers.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday at his palace, the emir said the closure is the only method of enforcing Nigeria’s anti-smuggling laws.
“Closing the borders becomes indispensable because our neighbouring countries are not helping us to protect our economy. For instance, if you want to protect rice farmers, you have to impose heavy taxation on the importation of foreign rice into the country,” the monarch, who is a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said.
“Therefore, any country that allows smuggling of rice into Nigeria through its borders is doing that at the expense of our farmers who could not withstand competition with foreign producers. Besides rice and other food items, you must also understand that all the illicit drugs get into this country through the land borders.
“So sometimes it is important to take these difficult decisions so that we get the cooperation and collaboration of Customs officials across the borders. It is something that I wholeheartedly support. I think it is temporary and I think it will lead to improvement.”
The Nigerian government had closed its borders since August with President Muhammadu Buhari saying the move was to check smuggling.
However, Moustapha Lo, speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, had requested that the Nigerian government reopens its borders saying it is not the solution to Nigeria’s smuggling problems.
Commenting on the economic advisory council recently appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, Sanusi described it as “one of the best things the government has done for the country”.