Ghana's ex-president, John Mahama wants Nigeria to focus on strengthening institutions instead of closing borders

A former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama says Nigeria must strengthen its institutions mandated to prevent smuggling instead of punishing importer and exporters by closing its borders.

Former President John Mahama

Mr Mahama said the oil-rich country must implement pragmatic measures instead of closing its Seme-Krake, Igolo, and Idiroko borders to other West African countries.

He was speaking at the 7th Anniversary of the Realnews Magazine in Lagos, Nigeria.

Mr Mahama said, “it is problematic that sub-regional activities and trade should suffer because of domestic institutional weaknesses."

“Nigeria must invest in strengthening its institutions and systems that are responsible for the importation of illegal or prohibited goods,” he added.

The Nigerian government closed its borders in August 2019. This has left Cross-border traders from Ghana, Benin and other countries stranded as their goods perish.

Meanwhile, Ghana's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has appealed to Ghanaian traders to remain calm as it works with the Nigerian authority to open its borders.

The Ministry said this is affecting regional trade and people-to-people contact.

“In addition to the closure of the borders and its effects, Ghana has to deal with measures already enforced in Nigeria that have made it difficult for Ghanaian traders to export Non-Traditional products into the Nigerian markets in spite of the ECOWAS trade Liberation Scheme,” the ministry said in a statement.

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