Channels Television

Nigeria Customs Service has said that apart from security concerns, the country’s borders were closed in order to protect local farmers and ensure national food security.

The Customs Public Relations Officer, Joseph Atta, said this while meeting with rice farmers in Kaduna, adding that the interaction was meant to garner support for border closure.

He told the farmers that the Federal Government was compelled to take the action after neighbouring countries failed to respect an agreement to block smuggling of goods into Nigeria.

Atta said that Nigeria even bought patrol vehicles to support its neighbours in protecting their end of the border, but no concrete efforts were made to stop the smugglers.

He added that the border closure was not only necessary in ensuring national food security, but also the security of lives and properties of Nigerians.

He said, “The issues of light weapons, kidnapping and banditry make Nigeria less secure and are affecting the nation’s economy, especially the agric sector.

Atta said the government was determined to promote agriculture and stop dependence on smuggling by taking deliberate steps.

The NSC spokesman, however, said that in spite of the genuine desire of government, neighbouring countries with the connivance of some unpatriotic Nigerians had continued to allow foreign items to be smuggled into the country, thereby causing massive losses to local farmers.

He stressed that the continuous patronage of smuggled rice had only led to huge losses for local farmers along with a reduction in anticipated job growth.

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