The Nigerian-Benin border has been closed partially as both countries work at stopping the ongoing smuggling activities at the border.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari revealed that the partial closure of the border should hopefully stop “massive smuggling activities”.
Rice is one of the commodities mostly smuggled on a massive scale into Nigeria through Benin.
Buhari and his Beninois counterpart Patrice Talon have met to discuss the issue in Japan on Wednesday.
Both leaders are attending the 7th Tokyo International Conference for African Development in Yokohama.
The Nigerian leader said the smuggling was a setback for his country’s agricultural policies pushing for self-sufficiency in food production.
“Now that our people in rural areas are going back to their farms,the country has saved huge sums of money, which would otherwise have been expended on importing rice using our scarce foreign reserves, we cannot allow smuggling of the product at such alarming proportions to continue,” Buhari was quoted as telling Talon.
But Benin is concerned about the closure, with President Talon recounting the impact it is having on Benin citizens.
Buhari was quoted in a statement from the Nigerian presidency as saying that resident he would reconsider reopening the border in the not too distant future.