Not all Land Borders Are Opened, Says Custom Boss

Following a meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Mr. Adeniyi

By Thomas Timiyo

In his statement on Tuesday, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, the Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), clarified that not all of the nation’s land borders have been reopened. He also acknowledged that there have been instances of smuggled fuel being seized at the borders and expressed that it will take time for the issue of fuel smuggling to be completely resolved.

Following a meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Mr. Adeniyi responded to questions from State House correspondents. He emphasized that the federal government did not issue a directive to open all land borders across the country.

Previously, there had been speculation that the president had authorized the reopening of all land borders upon assuming office. However, the Acting Comptroller-General informed journalists that the borders not included in the strategic selection of reopened borders in 2022 are still closed. Nevertheless, a comprehensive evaluation of the situation is currently underway.

Mr. Adeniyi revealed his intention to visit the Republic of Benin to engage in discussions with their Customs Administration. This visit aims to promote collaboration, address border security concerns, facilitate cross-border importation, and explore technological solutions to complex border challenges, all in support of enhancing border security and regional integration.

Adeniyi said: “Well, it is not true that all Nigerian borders have been opened. The status quo ante still exists in the borders. If you remember that the borders were completely shut down 2018 up until 2022, when some selected strategic borders were reopened, that is to the situation as we speak. And this was why we had an adhoc arrangement of a special unit coordinated by the Office of the NSA to enforce that border closure.

“But as we speak, about five of them have been reopened. Four were initially reopened and two more were open after that. And that is still the situation. There are ongoing processes to review this situation against the objective of the border closure itself. And the processes are not yet completed. And of course, when the borders are reopened, it’s not going to be subject of rumour in any way.

“I can also tell you that part of my discussions with Mr. President is to actively engage customs administration’s across our borders, particularly the strategic ones that we must work and collaborate with for us to achieve common objectives of border security and regional integration.

“In the next one week, or thereabout, I will be paying an official visit to Republic of Benin, to have discussions with the Customs Administration of Benin, and see how we can take forward the issue of collaborations between us, the issue of border security, the issue of importation across the border, and more importantly, how we can deploy technological solutions to very complex border problems.”

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