Sanusi said he supports the border closure because of the need for rice farmers in the country to be protected.

He said the growing smuggling of rice and other commodities has hampered the activities of local producers and rice farmers in Nigeria.

“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,” Sanusi said.

The Cable reports that Sanusi while addressing journalists at his Palace on Wednesday, September 18, said smuggling can only end through such actions.

The Emir also noted that the closure of the borders is one sure method for the country to enforce anti-smuggling laws in Nigeria.

“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,” Sanusi said.

The emir also said sometimes, it is important to take these difficult decisions so that the country can 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,” Sanusi added.

Meanwhile, the speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, Honourable Moustapha Cisse Lo, had urged the Nigerian government to reopen the closed borders.

The speaker said that the closure of the borders poses a threat to the implementation of the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons in Africa.

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