The Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Wale Adeniyi, has clarified that the reopening of borders in the country is an ongoing process that requires a thorough review.

In a meeting with President Bola Tinubu, Adeniyi disclosed that while selected strategic borders were reopened in 2022, the objectives of the border closure are being evaluated. This evaluation aims to enhance border security, promote regional integration, facilitate importation across the border, and explore technological solutions for complex border challenges.

Contrary to rumors, not all Nigerian borders have been opened, and the status quo ante still exists. Adeniyi explained that since the complete shutdown of borders from 2018 until 2022, only five borders have been reopened. The review process is still ongoing, and any future reopening will be based on a well-informed decision, not mere speculation.

Addressing the issue of fuel smuggling, Adeniyi acknowledged that eradicating this problem will take time, even with the removal of fuel subsidies. Although some border areas have reported fuel seizures, the rate of smuggling has significantly reduced. Adeniyi expressed optimism that the government’s ongoing policies will eventually eliminate fuel smuggling across the borders.

Regarding the proposal to merge Customs with other revenue generating agencies, Adeniyi stated that further details are yet to be revealed. He recognized the commonalities and areas of overlap among these agencies but stressed the importance of waiting for more information before forming a conclusive opinion on the matter.

When asked about specific instructions from the President, Adeniyi referred to the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) documents. He emphasized the alignment of customs activities with the noble objectives outlined in the PAC documents, including making ports user-friendly, decongesting ports, and implementing efficient clearance processes for goods. Furthermore, he highlighted the need for export-led, inward-looking economic development strategies.

By conducting a comprehensive review process and focusing on objectives such as border security, regional integration, and efficient customs activities, the Nigeria Customs Service aims to enhance its operations and contribute to the country’s economic growth.