President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria would have been in serious trouble if the land borders had not been closed.
The federal government in August 2019 ordered a closure of the country’s land borders over illegal importation of drugs, arms and agricultural products into Nigeria from neighbouring West African countries.
In December 2020, Buhari ordered the reopening of four land borders.
Months after the reopening, the president expressed concern that the closure of the borders failed to stop arms smuggling into Nigeria.
In June 2021, a motion, sponsored by 11 members of the house of representatives seeking to reopen all the borders was voted against at the green chamber.
The president, on Friday, held a bilateral meeting with Mark Rutte, prime minister of The Netherlands, on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly,
According to a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari assured the prime minister that Nigeria was dealing with terrorist elements troubling the country.
“We are preoccupied with security, and we are getting somewhere,” Buhari was quoted as saying.
On the economy, Buhari said the country took decisions to shut the borders to “eat what we grow, and curb smuggling”.
He said if that had not been done “we would have been in serious trouble. We are lucky to have taken the decision when we did, otherwise things would have been impossible with the advent of COVID-19”.
Speaking about the recent military coups in West Africa, Buhari said he was surprised at the attitude of those tampering with the constitution of their countries to stay longer in office.
He said ECOWAS was doing what was needed to address the development.
According to Adesina, Rutte congratulated Buhari on how he successfully leads a country of over 200 million people, and wished Nigeria greater success.