Nigeria says it will only reopen land borders until Niger and the Benin Republic have complied with the ECOWAS trade agreements

Nigerian land borders have been partially closed since August 2019. (Bloomberg)
  • Nigerian government gives conditions for the reopening of land borders.
  • Mariam Katagum, the country's Minister of State for Industry, Trade, and Investment, says there is no specific date for the opening of land borders.
  • ECOWAS asks Nigeria and other neighbouring nations to resolve existing border issues.

The Nigerian government has hinted that it will only reopen the country's land borders in strict compliance with regional trade agreements of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS)

Mariam Katagum, the country's Minister of State for Industry, Trade, and Investment stated this on Tuesday, December 24th, 2019, in Abuja, Guardian Nigeria reports.

With no specific date at sight, she said reopening the borders would depend on recommendations from the patrol team on whether Niger and the Benin Republic have complied with the trade protocols.

We had a strategic meeting with the three countries, and what we agreed with our neighbours is to activate a joint border patrol, and the border patrol comprises the Customs, all the security agencies and ensure to try to follow the actual protocol laid by ECOWAS.

“The committee met on November 25, and it is only when that committee is certain that all the countries are respecting the ECOWAS protocol that they will recommend a day for the opening of the border.

“Government has opened talks with Jaiz Bank Plc, and Small and Medium Development Enterprises, to initiate schemes that will engage women who do little businesses along the border sides," the medium quoted her in a report.

In August 2019, the three countries - Nigeria, Benin, and Niger - set up a monitoring team, Joint Security EX-SWIFT Response.

The joint border security exercise will last until January 31st, 2020.

At the end of its 56th session this week, the ECOWAS commission noted border closure as the key issue facing the implementation of the protocol of free movement of persons and goods in the region.

It urged member-states to remove both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, giving low levels of intra-regional trade.

The Commission commended the efforts of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) Presidential Task Force on the matter and requested an urgent conclusion to existing border issues.


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