By Olawale Ajimotokan in Magama Jibia
The federal government has disclosed that the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is now generating a daily revenue of N8 billion since the closure of its land borders three months ago.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the figures on Monday during an assessment tour of the Nigerian side of the border with Niger Republic in Magama Jibia, Katsina State.
Mohammed said the figure was over 30 per cent increase in revenue, since the launch of Exercise Swift Response on August 20, 2019 to secure Nigeria’s maritime and land borders.
He also noted that before the closure, the borders contributed nothing to the revenue as the NCS was recording about N4.5 billion daily.
A delegation that also included the Minister of Industries, Trade and Investments, Hajia Maryam Katagum, and Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, was on the tour of the North-west Sector 4.
The ministers had a closed-door session with the Sector 4 Coordinator, National Border Drill Operation, Assistant Comptroller General Bashir Abubakar.
While addressing the community led by the District Head of Jibia, Rabe Rabiu, and Chief of Dadara, Usman Usman, the information minister assured them that the federal government would continue to engage Niger and other neighbouring countries to ensure that all concerns that warranted the border closure were fully addressed.
However, he noted that the closure of the Magama Jibia border post had also drastically reduced cases of cattle rustling, kidnapping and banditry, which were predominant in the North-west zone as the bandits and terrorists were finding it difficult to procure arms and smuggle it through the land border.
Mohammed added that of all four sectors affected by the lock-up, the North-west sector 4 had recorded the highest success in terms of the reduction of illegal migration.
“Smuggling of petroleum products out of Nigeria has been greatly reduced. The closure of filling stations along the border is a huge success. There are hundreds of filling stations along the border. We counted many as we drove to the border this morning. They were set up purposely for smuggling. They don’t sell the fuel consignment they receive to the public. About 50 per cent of them are owned by foreigners. Now that they are closed, we have recorded over 30 per cent in domestic fuel consumption,” Mohammed said.
He insisted that the land borders were locked to protect the country against transnational security concerns, while also adding that it was not targeted at any country nor designed to cripple businesses in any part of the country.
“As a matter of fact, since the exercise commenced over three months ago, local businesses across the country have continued to thrive, as farmers and rice millers in particular are now having turnover on investments. The border closure has curbed the smuggling of foreign rice into the country, in addition to other prohibited items; increased the monthly import revenue by over 15 per cent; led to significant seizures with estimated monetary value of over N3,500,000,000; reduced local fuel consumption by 30 per cent as well as reduced the importation of arms, ammunition and drugs,” he noted.