By G9ija

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the people of Niger Republic will defend him if anyone moved against him after leaving office on May 29, 2023.

The President said this on Tuesday during the commissioning of the Nigeria Customs Service headquarters in Abuja.

Buhari also said he deliberately shut the nation’s land borders to force Nigerians to patronise goods made in the country.

He said: “That is why when I became the President, my first visit was to Niger, Chad and Cameroon because, based on personal and national issues, the neighbourhood is very important.

“If you don’t secure the confidence and cooperation of your neighbours, you are in trouble, your children and grandchildren will be in trouble.

“So it is very good that I established a relationship with my neighbours.

“I said these few things about my personal belief because I have only six more days to go.

“And I try to plan to be as far away from Abuja as possible.

“Thank goodness, I come from an area which is far away from Abuja.

“I said if anybody forces me, I have a good relationship with my neighbours, Niger people will defend me.”

On why he closed the country’s land borders, he said it was to encourage Nigerians to produce food for their consumption, adding that people eventually appreciated it after criticising him.

He said: “Please note that from Lake Chad to Benin is more than 1,600Km.

“Only God can effectively guard that border.

“So you need a person who will have the energy and the competence to effectively supervise it.

“I deliberately closed the borders because knowing Nigerians, they order rice and give some Niger address and then they bring the rice here.

“We have our potential.

“We thank God Nigeria is so blessed with people, we have land, and we have weather.

“How many nations are so lucky like Nigeria in the world?

“Very few nations are as lucky as we are.

“We thank God for that.

“So closing that 1,600km border from Lake Chad to Benin, Nigerians insist they have to help their neighbour and other people, they should eat foreign rice.

“I said you eat what you grow or grow what you eat or you die.

“I think I am trying to make my point.

“Later Nigerians will appreciate it because it provides more jobs.

“People go back to agriculture.

“We have the land and they will produce what we eat.

“And for people who think that our neighbours are going to lose, let’s continue to be with our neighbours.

“Those who are producing excess rice, let them eat their rice or go and sell it elsewhere.”