Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna central, has warned against the federal government’s plan to shut down a land border between Nigeria and a neighbouring country.
The senator said the measure will “suffocate” legitimate businesses in the country.
On Monday, Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture, announced that the government would soon shut down a land border to prevent smuggling of rice.
Although Ogbeh did not mention the particular country and border, he said the action had become necessary to encourage local production and sustain the economy of the country.
“Our other problem is smuggling. As we speak, a neighbor of ours is importing more rice than China is importing,” he had said.
“They do not eat parboiled rice … they use their ports to try and damage our economy. I am telling you now because in a few days, you will hear the border has been shut, we are going to shut it to protect you, us and protect our economy.”
However, writing via his Twitter handle on Tuesday, Sani said relevant security agencies should be able to tackle the issue rather than shutting the border in question.
He wrote: “It’s wrong to shut down the land borders ‘because of rice smuggling’.
“Our layers of security operatives should be able to combat or prevent smuggling without suffocating legitimate businesses and stifling border communities.”
Its wrong to shut down the land borders ‘because of rice smuggling’.Our layers of security operatives should be able to combat or prevent smuggling without suffocating legitimate businesses and stifling border communities.
— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) June 19, 2018
A report by Bloomberg had shown how rice smuggling has continued to rise over the last one year despite efforts by government to check the trend.