Nigerian government insists on closing borders with Ghana, other neighbouring countries until 2020 despite protests

The Nigerian government has revealed that its borders with neighbouring countries will remain closed until 2020 despite several protests to open the border.

Nigerian government insists on closing borders with neighbouring countries until 2020 despite protests

This, the government said, is aimed at helping check smuggling of goods into the populous African nation.

Nigeria's High Commissioner to Ghana, Olufemi Abikoye said this ahead of a closed-door meeting on the matter with Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, in Accra.

Although unilateral border closures go against all commercial and freedom of movement treaties signed under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria has justified its decision.

Mr Abikoye noted that “Nobody stops goods coming in from the ports,” adding that, “a joint task force set up by the Nigerian government has within a month made a major bust of goods, including ammunition, which were being smuggled into the country.”

He added that “With just one month of this partial temporarily closure of the border, the task force was able to seize over 1,00 smuggled cars, over 5,000 jerry can of petroleum products, over 20,000 bags foreign rice, thousands of ammunition.”

He, hence, directed affected traders to use the country’s ports where authorities can easily monitor goods coming into and going out of the country.

The closed-door meeting

A Ghanaian delegation led by Ms Ayorkor Botchwey on Tuesday engaged with the Nigerian High Commission at a closed-door meeting on the matter following complaints by Ghanaian traders who have been hit by the land border closure.

He explained that “initially, it was supposed to be for just 20 something days but only last Monday, over 20,000 bags of foreign rice” were seized at a time that the government was reviewing the decision on the closure.

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