The Peoples Democratic Party ,PDP, Presidential Campaign Council has insisted that the closure of the nation’s land borders by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 worsened the economic situation and cost Nigeria its place as the leading power in West Africa.
In a statement, Director Public Affairs, Senator Dino Melaye, who described the closure as a scam, said: “Against the backdrop of rising price of rice, coupled with unmitigated insecurity, the ever conscious and discerning Nigerians have found out that the closure of Nigeria’s land borders by Buhari and the APC administration was a scam and a failed policy, the lying dexterity of Lai Mohammed, Buhari’s Minister of information notwithstanding.
“One of the touted gains of the border closure, according to APC, is the phantom rice revolution arising from containing smuggling of imported rice through border closure. Curious Nigerians are, however, wondering why rice is now more expensive and unaffordable during and after the border closure.
“Nigerians are also feeling scammed because insecurity and arms smuggling that were part of the justifications for border control have become so intractable that Katsina State, including President Buhari’s community have become the kingdom of bandits.
“It is tactless of Lai Mohammed and APC to be contending with His Excellency Atiku Abubakar on issues of border management and control, an area in which the presidential candidate of PDP exudes exceptional competence. It is painful that rather than bow in contrition over the abundant and abysmal policy failures of his Party and administration, the tepid counterpoise of Lai Mohammed is to categorise His Excellency Atiku Abubakar as ‘inordinately ambitious’. It was the same sniding that has kept the APC rolling rapidly on the course of administrative perdition, as it failed to heed the counsel of Atiku on NNPC and other key socio-economic issues. Only the PDP and Atiku can bail Nigeria out of its current habitation in intensive care.
“Nigerians are not fooled or oblivious to recall the hardship, loss of market dominance in West Africa, and the stifling of the operations of Nigerian industries while the border closure lasted. Such was the negative consequence that a Committee under the Buhari administration advised it against the counterproductive effect of a badly conceived and ignorantly implemented policy. If the policy worked, why were the critical land borders re-opened? It reflects lack of creativity, poor imagination, idleness and indiscretion to attack His Excellency Atiku Abubakar for saying that his administration would keep the borders open as a benefit of the hard lessons that the Buhari administration learnt through its characteristic error of judgement.
“The Atiku Campaign Structure is not only happy that the Katsina outing provoked restlessness in the APC, but that it offered our Presidential Candidate the opportunity to enunciate policies that showed the light out of the darkness and reversal to the stone age that APC has cast Nigeria in the last seven and a half years. Truly the message hit the right chords
“Nigerians are assured that under the leadership of His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, all regional trade treaties will be pursued with efficiency. In this regard, both the African Continental Free Trade Area( AfCFTA) and the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme ( ETLS) will be implemented to National and regional advantages. The border management agencies will also be equipped with appropriate technological tools and hardware, to contain smuggling, illegal immigration and arms trafficking.
“Now that Atiku Abubakar’s Katsina outing has jolted Alhaji Lai Mohammed back to consciousness and stirred him out of his hibernation, he can again safely revert to his recluesness, maintaining the dictum that silence is golden”.