*Border closure has benefited Nigeria immensely – Buhari

By Ismail Auwal

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria looks forward to assistance from the Netherlands even as he noted that border closure has helped Nigeria immensely.

Buhari, who is currently in New York for the 76th United Nation g
General Assembly, stated this at a meeting with Maxima Zorreguieta, Queen of the Netherlands, on Wednesday.

According to a statement by the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President Buhari highlighted current developmental efforts in the country, noting that his administration has placed premium on infrastructure.

Buhari attributed limitations in his administration’s developmental efforts to the fluctuations in the global price of oil, saying Queen Zorreguieta would see a major between 2017 when she last visited and today.

“Without infrastructure, development would be limited; so, we put emphasis on building roads, rail, and power. We have a comprehensive plan, and we are doing our best,” the statement quoted President Buhari as saying during the meeting.

The president noted that the decision by the Nigerian Government to close the country’s borders was partly to encourage farmers, “and eat what we grow”, it said.

Buhari said, “People went back to the land, and this helped us tremendously. We made fertilizers available, resuscitated dams, and it all paid off handsomely.

“Otherwise, with about 200 million people, we would have been in trouble when COVID-19 struck and affected the economy.”

He also stressed that Nigeria was open to more foreign investments, especially in the agriculture sector.

“We have the land, we have the people; capital input is what we need,” the president noted.

Responding, the queen of Netherlands commended the Buhari administration for “the huge effort” made to address the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

The queen offered to look into supporting Nigeria, especially in agriculture, as long as the necessary infrastructure and enabling digital financial platform were in place.

The Queen of Netherlands said, “You won’t be alone. We will be there along with other partners.

“We need roads, railways, digital financial inclusion for farmers. Government needs to digitise all payments.”

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