President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria’s domestic fuel consumption had dropped by more than 30 per cent, following the closure of land borders.
He also noted that two months into the closure of Nigeria’s land border to curb smuggling activities, especially rice, that the administration would bet on the same measure to rekindle the agriculture sector.
He said the government’s directive would save the country billions of naira on import bills.
A statement on Monday by his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on media and publicity, Garba Shehu said the president stated this in his home town in Daura, when he received a delegation of Katsina State Elders Forum.
President Buhari also told his visitors that he had not given any date for the reopening of the land border until the situation improves.
“The President commended the actions taken by the President of Niger Republic, Muhammadou Youssoufou, including the dismissal of officials and a ban on the use of the country as a dumping ground for Nigeria-bound smuggled goods.
“President Buhari noted that the measures taken by the President of Niger was helpful and supportive,” the statement said.
It added that Buhari acknowledged the hardship of border communities following the ban on the sale of fuel at stations 20 kilometres to the border, a restriction that also saw to the closure of all fuel stations in Buhari’s native home, Daura.
Buhari, who said “farmers must be protected”, added that “dishonesty is deep-rooted in the country. Otherwise, the border closure would not have been warranted.”
According to the president, the current restriction was a temporary measure as the Nigerian Customs Service needed to ascertain outlets involved in the real sale of products and those being used for smuggling.
President Buhari told the delegation that he intends forging ahead with poverty alleviation schemes and the agricultural and livestock reforms started by the administration in the first term, since the election was behind him and a government now in place.