Border Closure: Endure pains in national interest, Babalola Tells Nigerians - THE NATION
BY Rasaq Ibrahim, Ado Ekiti
The Founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) has implored Nigerians to endure the economic hardship brought by the partial closure of land borders in the country’s interest.
Babalola said the Federal Government’s initiative was in the best security and economic interest to revamp the nation’s industries and give local entrepreneurs hopes of survival in the country.
He spoke on Sunday during the closing ceremony of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) project training for youths in Oyo and Ekiti states under the Youth Employment in Agri-business and Sustainable Agriculture (YEASA).
The foremost legal icon commended President Muhammadu Buhari over the closure of the country’s border with Benin Republic and other neighbouring countries to tackle persistent smuggling which has crippled the country’s economy.
He described the initiative of Buhari-led administration as a right step in the right direction, noting border closure had continued to yield positive results in improving food production and invariably impacting on the country’s economy.
He said that the policy apart from helping to checkmate influx of illicit arms and ammunitions which fueled insecurity, it has forced many Nigerians to go back to agriculture and local production improving markedly.
“It is imperative that we continue to support the Federal Government on border closure and endure its attendant effect to ensure that Nigeria regains its lost glory in that all-import realm and in the best economic and security interest of the country.
“They should not open it in the best interest of the economy. The closure of border is helpful to the farmer. I see farming as the mainstay of this country. We just have to maintain it. And the only way is to close the border.
“Nigerians might not understand this now, may be because of the little pains it has brought; but I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel as the positive and long term effects that will soon follow will make Nigerians happy.
Babalola noted that agriculture remained the only viable launch pad to economic growth and development, saying Nigeria must invest in the sector to attain food sufficiency, over-concentration of industrialisation, improved foreign exchange earnings and employment generation.
Babalola said Nigeria can overcome poverty, hunger and unemployment ravaging the country, if governments invest in agriculture, which he said holds a better promise than white collar jobs.
He, however, called on government at all levels in the to create enabling environment through implementation of policy frameworks in enduring farmers have unfettered access to credit facilities, modern implements, improved seed varieties and fertiliser.
This, he, said, would lure youths which are regarded as the virile segment of the population to embrace farming, stressing that farming with cutlasses and hoes will dissuade them from embracing the occupation.