Borders to remain closed till Benin, Niger meet Nigeria’s conditions, FG vows

The Republics of Benin and Niger have failed to meet the conditions for the reopening of Nigeria’s land borders, according to Punch.

This was stated by Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture when he led a government delegation to the Seme border yesterday.

The Details: Judging from the rate at which goods were smuggled and the number of illegal immigrants arrested over the last two weeks, the Minister noted that nothing was done by the neighbouring countries to address the issues that led to the closure of the borders.

Conditions for reopening of borders: The Federal Government announced five conditions that would make it reopen the borders after the closure. One of those conditions is that Nigeria would turn down imported goods repackaged by neighbouring countries and brought to Nigeria.

Another condition requires immigrants to identify themselves by providing a passport. These agreements were reached during a meeting of Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Temporary Partial Closure of Land Borders in Abuja.

Giving an account of the events that occurred during the border closure, the Information Minister said,

Local consumption of fuel had dropped by 30% apparently due to the reduction in smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.

“The partial closure has so far curbed the smuggling of foreign rice into the country, in addition to other prohibited items. Our series of interactions and engagements with the Rice Miller Association of Nigeria since the commencement of this exercise has shown that the border closure has enhanced more production and milling of Nigerian rice.

“Patronage of Nigerian rice has increased and farmers are expanding their farms as well as engaging more hands. Furthermore, the border closure has impacted positively on revenue generation of the Federal Government which in turn will be used to build more infrastructure and develop critical sectors of the nation’s economy.

“The border exercise has also curbed diversion of petroleum products from Nigeria to neighbouring countries,” Lai explained.

In a recent Nairametrics article, it was reported that Ghanaian goods and services recorded high patronage at the last Lagos International Trade Fair despite the closure of the land borders and the disagreement between the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and foreign traders.

According to Catherine Gordor, the Senior Export Development Officer, Research and International Cooperation of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Ghanian goods recorded more patronage at the opening of the trade fair between Friday, 1st and Tuesday 5th November.

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