The emir who expressed satisfaction said that it is the only way Nigeria’s anti-smuggling laws can be enforced.
He said this while speaking with a journalist in his palace yesterday.
He blamed the country’s porous borders for the high incidences of tax evasion while stating that it had been turned into escape routes from excise duties and tariffs as well as viable channels for diversion of petroleum products from the country.
According to the monarch, the closing of the borders is the only option for the country to revive its agricultural sector in order to help the economy develop.
“If you remember when the president came to Kano on an official visit, I actually talked about closing the borders with the Republic of Benin. I always felt that if you really want to enforce laws that you have against smuggling you need to close borders, you have petroleum products moving across the borders from Nigeria to neighbouring countries because of our fuel subsidies.
“You have goods coming in across the border using the port in Cotonou to avoid tax revenues in Lagos.So what happens is we don’t get the revenue from duties and tariffs and then we end up having the goods coming in anyway,” he said.
He further stated that it is not possible to leave the borders open if the government wants to protect the Nigerian economy.
“For instance, if you want to protect rice farmers, you have to impose heavy taxation on importation of foreign rice into the country.
“Therefore, any country that allows smuggling of rice into Nigeria through its borders is doing that at the expense of our farmers who could not withstand competition with foreign producers.
“Besides rice and other food items, you must also understand that all the illicit drugs get into this country through the land borders.”