The closure of Nigerian borders was never meant to be permanent but to send message to the country’s neighbours that they have to comply with protocols on border management.
This was disclosed today, Sunday, by the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd).
In an interview at the headquarters of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ali said that in the past, neighbouring countries did not honour or adhere to protocols and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed on border management.
He said- “We just set up a joint border patrol. It is an offshoot of the joint border drill, which was the operation we launched to close our borders.
“The intention was not to close our borders perpetually. It was to send a message to our meighbours that they cannot continue to go against the protocols that are established and acceded to.
“When we abide by certain protocols on movement of goods across our borders, we discovered that those rules are no longer adhered to by our neighbours.
“We made multiple advances. We have reached across, we have signed papers in terms of MoU but none of them worked.
“So we are left with no option than to close our borders and send a message.
“We developed joint border drill to effectively close the borders and manned it and we now had to look at it that we cannot continue to close our borders so what do we do?
“We reopened it and we are now working with our neighbours — our counterparts in Niger Republic and Benin Republic.
“We have to come up with a concept that now gives us the chance to monitor and manage our borders without closing the exits and entrances, so that is how we came up with joint border patrol,” he stated