Mohammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), has said only President Muhammadu Buhari can decide when the country’s land borders with neighbouring countries can be reopened.
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Babandede said this during the NIS project validation meeting with senior officers in Abuja on Tuesday.
The country’s land borders were closed in August 2019 following a directive from President Buhari to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The NIS Comptroller-General said the Service had no power to reopen the borders until the president gives the go-ahead.
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He also stated that contrary to various reports, the borders are not fully closed as they are opened from 6am to 6pm.
“The borders are partially closed and this is in line with the ECOWAS rules where you must have travel documents. You must enter through the legal routes and with documents,” he said.
Babandede insisted the borders were closed to protect the country, adding that the measure was not targeted at some neighbouring countries.
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He also stated that the visa-on-arrival policy is not at variance with border closure.
On his part, Hameed Ali, the NCS Comptroller-General, told journalists: “All goods, for now, are banned from being exported or imported through our land borders to ensure that we have total control over what comes in.”