President Muhammadu Buhari has given the condition for reopening Nigeria’s land borders to goods from neighbouring countries.
He revealed that the reopening the borders would be determined by the report from the Tripartite Committee comprising the governments of Nigeria, Benin Republic and the Niger Republic.
The President stated this when he met with President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso who paid him a visit on Friday at the State House in Abuja.
“Our major problem is security – the inflow of weapons, ammunition and drugs,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
President Buhari added, “We have witnessed a decline in banditry using such weapons since the partial closure of the border.
“Also, our farmers are now able to sell their rice since we stopped the inflow of foreign rice, usually dumped in the country.”
He informed his visitor that Nigeria’s decision to partially close the borders was purely based on the need to ensure national security.
“I will work as fast as I can as soon as I receive the report,” President Buhari assured Mr Kabore.
The Burkina Faso leader is the chairman of the ECOWAS Committee mandated to resolve the issue of the border closure.
He informed the Nigerian leader that he came on the visit following the mandate of ECOWAS to resolve the issues that culminated in the partial closure of the border.
President Kabore said many of the challenges which led to the closure by Nigeria have been discussed and agreed on and urged President Buhari to reconsider his position.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, who was present at the meeting, briefed State House correspondents on issues discussed.
He noted that President Buhari was mindful of the concerns of neighbouring countries regarding the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol.
Onyeama explained that the nation’s land borders were closed for security reasons, although he said there were hopes for a solution soon.