The Emir of Kano state, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has said the decision by Nigeria to close its border is part of the measures to preserve its foreign policy in the national interest.
Sanusi noted that the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari was to stop neighbouring countries from violating the ECOWAS Protocol given that Nigeria was fast becoming a dumping ground.
Sanusi said: “Last time, I was critical of Nigeria’s refusal to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and recently I have been in support of the decision to close the border which now looks like two contradictory positions but they are not.”
“The understanding that you have a free trade zone must come with the understanding that everybody must play by the rules. If the rules don’t work, the free trade does not work. Nigeria is 70 percent of the population of West Africa and if we have an industrial policy that is aimed at protecting the productive sector of Nigeria, it is a fair competition. We cannot allow our neighbours to open their doors to this unfair competition and through the back door undermine our industry.”
“It is not about smuggling petroleum or rice but in 2017, the Republic of Benin was the world’s second-largest importer of Tramadol from the United States. All those drugs came into Northern Nigeria and now we hear that there are also arms coming in. So closing the borders, I hope is not a permanent solution but what I hope is that is an opportunity to sit down and agree on rules and then open up the borders.”
“It is extremely important to have a foreign policy that is ready to take very firm decision to protect the national interest against dangerous trade activities”.