President Muhammadu Buhari, at a bilateral meeting with Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, in New York, says Nigeria would have been in serious trouble if he did not close the borders at the time he did.
On the economy, the president said Nigeria took decisions to shut the borders, “eat what we grow, and curb smuggling”, noting that if that had not been done, “we would have been in serious trouble.”
He also told the Dutch leader that Nigeria was preoccupied with terrorists and bandits ravaging the country.
“We are preoccupied with security, and we are getting somewhere,” Femi Adesina quoted the president to have told the Dutch prime minister.
Mr Adesina, the president’s spokesman, indicated that Mr Buhari’s meeting with Mr Rutte took place on Friday, on the sidelines of the 76th UN General Assembly.
The Nigerian leader added that the North-East and the South-South, which were the issues in 2015, stabilised, while efforts had been intensified to restore calm to the North-West, North-Central, and other restive areas.
“We are lucky to have taken the decision when we did; otherwise, things would have been impossible with the advent of COVID-19,” the president explained.
On the spectre of military coups in West Africa, President Buhari told his guest that he was surprised at the attitude of those tampering with the constitution of their countries to stay longer in office.
He assured that ECOWAS was doing the needful to address the developments.
Mr Rutte congratulated the Nigerian president Buhari on successfully leading the country.