President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday in London that the partial closure of Nigerian borders is not a punitive plot against its neighbours, but a well thought out decision aimed at strengthening national economy and security
Addressing a select group of the Nigerians at a meeting, the President said the closure period would also be used for reflections on the critical areas of the nation’s life and plan to protect her again economic and security threats.
The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said in a statement that the border closure has already started yielding dividends for the country especially local farmers as smuggling of agricultural produce has gone down drastically.
Smuggling of arms and ammunition has also been reduced, he said.
President Buhari attributed the country’s virtual food security position to the “very good last three rainy seasons,” federal government’s reduction of the price of fertilizers by 50 percent, and the presidential directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria not to give foreign exchange for food imports thereby saving the nations billions of naira.
Commending Nigerians in the Diaspora for their huge home remittances – more than $25 billion in 2018 – the President also lauded their individual performances in their various fields of expertise.
Explaining the achievements of his administration in implementing its three-point campaign agenda by focusing on fixing the economy, providing security and tackling corruption, the President said Nigeria’s “huge, vibrant youth population” have been encouraged to go back to the farms and are “living decent and respectable lifestyles.”
On security, he said:” it is common sense that you can only run the country if it is secured,” adding that the country “has not done badly in the North East.”
Describing the havoc done by corruption to the image and economy of Nigeria as “terrible,” President Buhari said that his administration is now focused on retrieving stolen fixed assets and returning the proceeds of the sale “to the treasury through the Treasury Single Account (TSA),” so that nobody can return them to the convicts even after his tenure.
The President congratulated the current World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Joshua, who was the cynosure of all eyes during the meeting, on regaining his world championship belt, as well as putting Nigeria “on the world map again like Hogan Bassey.”
On his part, Joshua, who later presented his belts to the President, pledged to “stand up for Nigeria anytime you need me.”
Various speakers lauded the President’s commitment to bequeathing a lasting legacy.
A renowned research biochemist, Adebayo Olamideji, went down the memory lane, recalling President Buhari’s nationalistic disposition by his decision to save 1,250 Nigerian students from Oyo State studying abroad from indebtedness and shame when he was military Head of State by agreeing to pay over $6.2 million.