During the inauguration of a new Customs Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari emphasized that the policies implemented by his administration were purposefully designed for the progress and advancement of the country.
Buhari highlighted that these policies have evolved into legacy programs due to their positive impact and widespread acceptance among the citizens.
He specifically mentioned the ban on the importation of foreign rice as an example of a policy that has yielded favorable outcomes for the country.
“I deliberately closed the borders. I said it is either you eat what you grow or you grow what you eat and later Nigerians appreciated it,” he said.
He claimed that he was not corrupt, saying that “those who are following Nigerian leaders to condemn them for misappropriation and misbehavior will have a problem with me.”
He lauded Nigeria’s relationship with neighboring African countries,but said that there was a need to maintain the cordial relationship.
“When I became the President, my first visit was to Niger, Chad and Cameroon because if you do not secure their confidence, you will be in trouble,’’ he said.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, expressed that the newly inaugurated customs headquarters reflects the current government’s commitment to delivering effective services.
Under her leadership, Ahmed emphasized that the welfare of customs personnel was a top priority. The board ensured regular promotions, training opportunities, and other initiatives for the staff.
Ahmed expressed gratitude to the President for signing the Nigeria Customs Act 2022, which will enable the service to align with international best practices.
She also extended appreciation to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and other stakeholders for their continued support, as it has greatly enhanced the service’s mandate of trade facilitation and revenue generation.
Retired Col. Hammed Ali, the Comptroller of Customs, highlighted his dedication to implementing reforms, restructuring, and increasing the revenue profile of the service since assuming office in 2015.
He emphasized the importance of a conducive environment for customs personnel and ensured the completion of the new corporate headquarters to provide a suitable working space.
The building is technologically advanced and equipped with necessary facilities to monitor activities at various borders and commands throughout the country.
Ali mentioned that the building, spanning approximately 25,000 square meters, was constructed by indigenous firms, and despite project challenges, it stands as one of the most cost-effective edifices in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.