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Buhari replies Akufo-Addo, says Nigeria not reopening borders now

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Buhari replies Akufo-Addo, says Nigeria not reopening borders now

The President, Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari [retd], on Monday, responded to his Ghanaian counterpart’s plea that Nigeria reopens its borders.

Buhari while responding to President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana expressed regrets that the partial border closure was having a “negative economic impact on our neighbours.”

He, however, insisted Nigeria would not be opening its border anytime soon, pleading with neighbouring countries to bear with Nigeria.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said that Buhari, at a meeting in London with Akufo-Addo, explained that the borders were not closed mainly to forestall the smuggling of only food items, notably rice, but to fight the influx of arms and ammunition, and hard drugs into the country.

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The two leaders held the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 in the United Kingdom.

Buhari told his Ghanaian counterpart that he could not keep his eyes open and watch youths being destroyed through cheap hard drugs as well as allow a compromise of the country’s security through the influx of small arms with impunity.

“When most of the vehicles carrying rice and other food products through our land borders are intercepted, you find cheap hard drugs and small arms under the food products. This has terrible consequences for any country,” Buhari stated.

He added that although the border closure was having a “negative economic impact on our neighbours, we cannot leave our country, particularly the youths endangered.”

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Buhari noted that the Sahel region had been saturated with small arms, which accounted for severe security challenges in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria.

“We are in fact the biggest victims,” he stated.

Buhari vowed not to reopen the borders until the committee set up on the matter submits its final report and decision taken on it.

“We will get things sorted out. Our farmers, especially those who grow rice, now have a market and are happy and we are also concerned about hard drugs and weapons.

“Once the committee comes up with its recommendations, we will sit and consider them,” he said.

Earlier, Akufo-Addo had called for “an expedited process because the Nigerian market is significant for certain categories of businesspeople in Ghana.”

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Akufo-Addo also spoke on the need for Nigeria to protect its citizens.

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