Nigeria land borders reopen after 16 months of isolation

Nigeria reopened four of its land border posts on December 17 after several months of closure. The Seme-Krake customs, the most important entry from Benin to Nigeria, is one of them. Good news for the recovery of the economy on the Abidjan-Lagos corridor.

The measure was expected; it was formalized on December 16. Nigeria has decided to open four of its land border posts. According to Lagos’s authorities, the sixteen months of confinement that the most populous country in Africa imposed on itself would have produced the expected effects, making a prolonged closure unnecessary.

On Twitter, the official Nigerian presidency account retweets President Buhari. In this message published on December 8, the chief executive already announced the upcoming decision.

He said that by choosing to close the borders 16 months ago, part of his intention was to send a message about the smuggling of drugs and weapons to neighboring countries.

“Now that the message has sunk in with our neighbors, we’re looking into reopening the borders as soon as possible.”

The four border posts concerned by the good news are Mfun, bordering Cameroon, Seme-Krake with Benin, and two others with Niger in the north, at Maigatari Illela.

While waiting for other land borders, which are scheduled to open on December 31, according to Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed, the Nigeria border closure dates back to August 20, 2019, a decision of the Nigerian executive which was officially based on the desire to fight against contraband but also to promote agricultural production at the national level and ensure food self-sufficiency. But this period created social tensions due to soaring prices of basic commodities on the market and a problem of insecurity.

What the Nigerian President wanted to pass off as accomplishing a goal would therefore be, in reality, only an admission of failure, of a hasty decision and criticized by many observers.

For the economist, Nigeria’s decision – which comes just one month after the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Treaty by the Head of State – will allow the country “to emerge from the social and economic crises that are currently shaking it”.

The reopening of the Seme-Krake border post, in particular, has relieved the heads of state of the West African sub-region. Indeed, the closure had difficulty the Abidjan-Lagos road corridor, which links the capitals of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria, a major economic development project.

A coastal strip linking five of the most dynamic countries in Ecowas is still being developed.

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