Director General, Customs Services, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has said those who are associating border closure to increase in poverty and unemployment are only giving baseless excuse and should be disregarded.
Hameed Ali made this known while responding to questions from Civil Society organizations during the Budget Hearing which was conveyed by the Appropriation committees of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Ali said those who have been complaining about the border closure are those who have been involved in smuggling adding that the closure has helped to boost the nation’s revenue so far.
Ali asked, “for how long are we going to survive in illegal dealings, those who are complaining about the border closure are those who have been involved in smuggling.”
He said reports and testimonies have shown that sales of local farm produce have increased since the closure of the border.
He added that the border closure has been able to address security challenges, improve the wellbeing of Nigerians and boost the nation’s economy and nothing negative has been recorded about it so far.
The DG Boss said, “Rate of crimes have reduced since border closure maybe because arms and ammunition that are being supplied to terrorists through the border are no longer available or they are unable to sneak through the borders and escape without being captured or that the influx of cheap drugs like tramadol which people consume and misbehave is no longer available in the market.
He explained that, oftentimes, rice being imported into Nigeria have expired and those who do not care about our health will bring it to the country and we will consume.
“Our target for the country which led to the border closure is not just about generating revenue, it is about the wellbeing of our people and our security”, Ali added.
He also mentioned that since the closure of the border, the agency has been generating between 5 to 6 billion naira everyday.
For her part, Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriations, Stella Oduah said she does not agree with the border closure adding that efforts should have been made on checking the things being imported through the land borders.
She illustrated that, “if you have a sore, you don’t have to cut your hand but find out the causation and adopt a cure instead of cutting the hand with the sore.”