Nigeria has extended the period for the closure of its frontiers to other countries till January 31, 2020.
The extension which was approved by its President, Muhammadu Buhari is said to be as a result of the ‘overwhelming success’ the closure has chalked in the face of the country’s economy and security.
A memo dated November 1, 2019, and addressed to the Sector Coordinators of the Joint Border Operation Drill announced that;
“I am directed to inform you that it is observed that despite the overwhelming success of the operation, particularly the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved. Against this background, Mr President has approved an extension of the exercise to January 31, 2020.”
Nigeria closed its borders in what it says is to stop the smuggling of products from its neighbouring West African countries into Nigeria.
The action taken by Nigeria was to express its displeasure at the attitude of the Beninese authorities in order to elicit their cooperation.
The closure of the borders which started in August 2019 was expected to be in force for twenty-eight (28) days, however, it looks like the issues remain unresolved thus the initial continuous closure.
Find the full memo here
“I am directed to inform you that it is observed that despite the overwhelming success of the operation, particularly the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved.
Against this background, Mr President has approved an extension of the exercise to January 31, 2020.
Consequently, you are requested to convey the development to all personnel for their awareness and guidance.
Meanwhile, allowances for personnel sustenance and fuelling of vehicles for the period of extension will be paid as soon as possible.
This is for your information and necessary action, please.”
Impact of closure on Ghana
The smuggling of goods and sale of substandard products through the eastern corridor is a phenomenon Ghana is battling with thereby having severe consequences on revenue mobilization.
As a result of this development, the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) wants authorities to strictly enforce the country’s laws on foreign trade and possibly close its borders too.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has assuaged the fears of the Association over the effect of the closure of Nigeria’s borders to member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stating that it is being handled with the best of methods.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has hinted of a crunch meeting between the Commissioner of Customs for Nigeria and that of Ghana to discuss issues surrounding the closure of the Nigeria-Benin border at Seme come Monday.
The meeting is expected to help the two countries set out modalities on how Ghanaian traders may easily cross the Nigerian-Benin border with their goods.