Border Closure: Benin And Other Neighbouring countries Caged From Turning Nigeria Into A Dumping Ground For Expired Foreign Rice and Small Arms Supply

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

Those who think that Nigerian border closure with neighbouring countries of Republic of Benin, Niger,  chad and the Central African  country of Cameroon, described in Customs circles as parasitic nations, are not working  may have  to do a rethink. This is because the border closure has repositioned the country on the part of economic growth as the country is no longer a dumping ground for prohibited Agricultural products such as rice or processed vegetable oil including small arms and weapons from the Europe, Asia and other African countries.

 President Muhammadu Buhari may have taken taken a cue from great leaders like Late Chairman Moa, of the  Asian country of China, who closed his country’s borders with neighboring countries for 25 years, in what is regarded  in Political Science, as Autarky, to become an industrialised nations that has become a threat to the United States, the world Industrial giant and Mahatama Ghandi, of India. These leaders were said to have made sacrifices, for their country to survive, an indication that Nigerians must be ready to tighten up their belt as the border closure may take a longer time to force the neighboring countries, particular, Benin, to  force Benin, to comply with the  Economic Comic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, trade protocol and trade Agreement with Nigeria, which had  had been abandoned over the years.

Signs that the border closure are beginning to have a positive effect on the  security situation of the country is evident by what is happening the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, where  the rate of the Islamic Fundamentalists , popular, BokoHaram  and the Islamic State of West African  Province, ISWAP, attacks have reduced to the barest  minimum. The situation is the same in the north western states of Zamfara, Katsina and Katsina, the President’s home state, where the Bandits appears to to have been checkmated.

 Security watchers believe that this became possible , because the arms dealers, and mercenaries, parading themselves, as Fulani herdsmen, riding on donkeys , with bags, stocked , with dangerous, weapons, including arms and weapons or the Helicopters flying into the country by  night to drop arms  at unspecified locations , coming from the  Maghreb region have been stopped from entering the country by the Babagana Munguno, a retired Major General and National Security Adviser, NSA,  led  security Operative Comprising of the Customs as the Customs as the lead agency, Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, Army, Airforce, Navy, Police, Department of State Security, DSS and the Directorate of Military Intelligence, DMI.

Sabo Nanaono: Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

Many believe that the measure  has cut of the sources of arms supply to the insurgents and the Bandits  to frequently  launch attack on Communities , forcing the  Nigerian Military and the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF, to beat their chest that that the days of the terrorists are numbered.   

Ikechukwu Ikenna,  an Imo state born trade who lives in Maiduguri, the Borno state Capital, said , the ability of the security Operatives to contain the activist of the arms smugglers, was a clear indication  that the  arms dealers had used  Niger,  and the other neighboring countries, as a base to sell their arms and thus make Nigerian ungovernable

Bello Suleiman, told the News, people of Republic of Benin have created the impression that that the country is the only source of food supply in Nigeria. Suleiman, noted that it dawned on them, that it dawned on them that they are the one that are dependent on Nigeria, when the government banned the re-exportation of the Asian country of Thai par boiled rice through the land border into the country on January 1, 2017, as it affected it had a ripple effect on its economy and the government revenue generation to.

It is not surprising why Sabo Nanono, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, could boldly say that the nation is ‘’producing enough food items to feed itself ‘’. An elated Nanono, who could not hide his feelings over the border closure with neighbouring countries, was said to have spoken his mind at a news conference to mark this year’s World Food Day on Wednesday, October 16, 2019.

He stopped short at saying that it is wrong for Republic of Benin to claim that it is the source of food supply to Nigeria, noting that’’ there is no hunger in the country since the border closure but inconveniences’’.

He gave kudos to the Katsina born Nigerian President, regarded in political circles, as the Ghandi of Nigeria, for coming out with the rice policy. He averred that when he came out with the policy, most people felt unease because they are used to Thai parboiled rice , which he claims sometimes are expired  for human consumption.

‘’Some of our neighbouring countries  are using Nigerian as a dumping ground  for expired foreign food items’, stating that efforts to make them understand the implications of doing so failed , hence the closure of the borders to sensitise them to sit up’’, he said.

Aware of the noticeable inconveniences of the border closure to Nigerians who  are cross-border businessmen, the minister disclosed that the problems are being addressed at the highest level of Government and  other relevant stakeholders including the Food and Agricultural Organisation to ensure that there is no hunger in the country.

Only recently, one of the largest producers of rice in the country was said to have visited the minister in his office in Abuja  . The rice farmer was said to have told the minister, that he had  over 600 metric tonnes  in his warehouse within the week of the border closure , an indication that the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria are behind the border closure. He had said that 50 percent of the milled rice had been sold and the farmers are till milling. He has made it clear to those that cares to listen that’’ as long as Benin and the other neighbouring countries, are not ready to respect the ECOWAS  trade protocol, the borders will remain closed’’.  Bad news , for presidents Patrick talon of Benin, Mohammad Issufou, Niger, Idris Derby, chad and Paul Biya of Cameroon.

 Given an insider information, he said the policy of the Buhari Administration is for Nigerians to feed themselves.  This may have informed   the creation of value chains to empower people and give out jobs. The minister may have got it wrong when he said fairly cheap in Nigeria compared to other countries of the world. At present, the price of the smuggled Thai  par boiled  rice still found in Nigerian markets have  forced the price of the locally produced up to between N18,500.00 and N20,000.00 per 50 Kg bag.

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