President Muhammadu Buhari has accused Nigerian traders of encouraging smuggling of banned items into the country.
He said the act amounts to valuing profit over patriotism, which makes made-in Africa products lacking in quality.
Buhari made the statement in a tweet after his meeting with a delegation of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry from Nigeria and West Africa on Friday.
He said, “It is regrettable that there are traders who simply do not play by the rules; who choose profits over patriotism, and whose selfish practices in perpetrating smuggling and counterfeiting help keep foreign factories working while closing ours.
“We have all heard stories about the dangerous and sometimes fatal impact of fake drugs and foods on our citizens.
“We have also seen how fake electrical items have led to fires in homes and markets, thereby destroying lives and property.
“Most of these substandard and illegal items are smuggled through our land borders. After many years of diplomacy and aggressive regulatory oversight, which yielded few results, we decided to close our land borders for a limited time to assess the impact of this measure.
“Within a few short weeks since the partial border closures began, we are already seeing a decline in the volume of counterfeit smuggled goods in some of our major markets across the country.
“This validates our action as a government when we insist that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement must not only promote free trade but legal trade of quality made-in-Africa goods and services.”