Former Governor of Borno State Maina Maaji Lawan has appealed to Nigerians, particularly traders, to accept the current border closure in good faith, saying it has ong-term benefits.
Maina was responding to the Federal Government’s partial closure of Nigeria’s land borders with Benin, Niger and Cameroon, to stem rice smuggling, which took effect in August.
Lawan, who addressed reporters at the inauguration of executive members of National Fish Farmers Association (NFAN) in Abuja recently, said he would not support the immediate reopening of the borders despite the hue and cry from critics of the controversial federal action.
“I know that the border closure is biting hard on a lot of aspects of our daily lives. But I am aware that there are also higher patriotic callings if we look at the overall prize we have been made to pay,” Lawan said.
“In that context, I think we should try to see the long term benefit of the closure. I believe it is not going to be permanent, and it cannot be permanent because we are bound by existing protocols and interrelationships with our neighbours. Again, we need to also give opportunity to our producers and manufacturers, especially to the upcoming small and medium scale entrepreneurs to bring out what they can without been stifled by smuggled products.
“I will not advocate immediate opening of the border because government knows and sees it. The opportunity it gives to our own local producers to rise up and take advantage of the situation to grow the country’s economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, NFAN President Gabriel Ogunsanya disclosed that the association would introduce new species of fish to feed the country and create job opportunities.
“We will try to introduce more species of fish to increase productivity. Formerly we were using more of catfish. Now we want to enter into other species like tilapia,” Ogunsanya stated.
“We will not allow illegal fishing again. We will collaborate to make sure that our officers work with relevant agencies to stop the illegal business,” he said.