The Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali has insisted that the border closures will continue for a while irrespective of the pressure from the neighbouring nations for its opening.
He said that Nigeria has to first think of her survival before considering the impact of the closure on neighbours.
According to him, Nigeria must lay the foundation for its growth to prop her industrialists to reason and grow.
Without taking the strategic step to sanitise her system, the Customs boss said Nigeria will become a dumping growth for all manner of products when the African Continental Free Trade takes off in earnest.
He spoke as the Special Guest of Honour at the Graduation Ceremony of Senior Course 3 in of the Nigerian Customs and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja.
He was thankful to the Nigerian Police Force, whom he said their support for the border closure was awesome.
He noted that Nigeria is blessed with the population of 200 million that can consume all her products, which renders the immediate needs for external patronage inexpedient.
He recalled that the Chinese had shut their borders for over two decades, a development he claimed make it the strongest economy.
His words: ” It is our hope that the boarder drill will continue for a while so that we cannot only sanitize our process but we can also lay the foundation for our growth and development because that is what we need to get our industrialists think and grow.
“If we don’t do that we are going to be in deep problem. By the time we begin to operate the African Continental Free Trade, Nigeria will be a dumping ground for every product from Africa. So, we need to be able to develop our capacity to be able to meet our requirements in terms of goods and services so that we can keep at bay the influx of other goods.
“If we don’t, these goods will come and our industries will continue to die. So we look forward to a situation whereby our industrialists will capitalize on this drill that we are doing so that they can grow and provide those things that we need. The Chinese closed their doors for over 20 years and now they are on top.
“We need to close our own. There is nothing that is being produced today that we cannot consume in Nigeria. Our industrialists do not have to look outward to find the market, we have it right here. And we need to grow that market.
“I hope that Nigerians will agree with us that while we are doing this drill, I know that our neighbours are in a haste to get us open the boarders, I think we need to look at our strategic interest first before looking at other people.
“I remember that I always tell people when they confront me that why are you doing this to our neighbours, I say look even in the aircraft if the say when there is an oxygen mast dropping even your own child, they say out your own oxygen mast before your own child, this is because you have to save yourself to get the child to survive. We must as Nigerians survive and flourish for our neighbour to also flourish.”
Kaduna Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, also expressed support for the closure of the borders.
According to him, the boarders should remain closed as long as possible for local manufacturers to develop.
He said: “Don’t forget that those that are preaching the reopening of the boarders today, closed their boarders for 20 years. Nigeria must grow on its internal capacity. We will not allow our neighbours to use the porosity of our boarders to sabotage our economy.”
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