ABUJA, Nigeria – Nigerian Government on Thursday said that the closure of the country’s land borders was to compel its neighbours to comply with the terms of trade agreements it signed with them.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, made this known while answering questions from newsmen on the sidelines of the ongoing World Bank/International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington DC.
Ahmed said that Nigeria was not getting the required cooperation from its neighbours with regard to adherence to the terms of some of the bilateral agreements they signed, NAN reports.
She said that compliance had become more important now that President Muhammadu Buhari had signed Nigeria up to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
“We needed to close the borders because we are not getting cooperation from our neigbouring countries.
“We have over the years committed to some alliances and bilateral agreements but our neigbours are not respecting them.
“The practices that are neigbours are engaged in are hurting our economy, hurting our local businesses and we have to make sure that that stops.
“`That is the purpose for the closure of the border and not revenue generation.
“That revenues are generated is the consequence but that is not the objective.
“It is just to ensure compliance of the commitments that we made between ourselves and our neigbouring countries,” she said.
The minister said the borders would not be reopened until the country got the commitment of its neighbours to agreements signed.
“We hope that at some points there will be discussions at the level of presidents where we will extract some commitments from our neigbours,” she explained.