Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed has said that 95 percent of arms used for kidnapping and banditry in the country come through the land borders.
He said this while speaking on Monday at the Seme border. Mohammed also accused neighbouring countries of not following the ECOWAS protocol.
He said, “Overtime, Nigeria has been confronted with numerous trans-border economic and security challenges. These challenges range from banditry, kidnapping, smuggling, illegal migrants and proliferation of light weapons amongst others. ”
“Meanwhile, the preference for foreign goods, especially food items like rice has continuously impoverished our farmers and adversely affected domestic government policies supporting the agricultural sector to enhance food security.
“It is however disturbing that some neighbouring countries circumvent the ECOWAS protocol on transit. For clarity, the ECOWAS protocol on transit demands that when a transit container berths at a seaport, the receiving country is mandated to escort same without tampering with the seal to the border of the destination country. Unfortunately, experience has shown that our neighbours do not comply with this protocol. Rather, they break the seals of containers at their ports and trans-load goods destined for Nigeria.”
According to him, closing land borders has curbed the smuggling of foreign rice and increased production and patronage of local rice. He said the closure has also stopped the diversion of petroleum products from the country into neighbouring countries.