Benin: A month after the border closure, Nigeria maintains the embargo
The Federal Republic of Nigeria rotting the lives of its neighbours by thirty days. Its land borders with some countries have been closed since August 20th, 2019. The Nigerian authorities intend, in this way, to combat smuggling. A month later, it is difficult to imagine how the locks will be broken.
Nigeria had left for a 28-day border check with countries such as Benin and Niger. A few days later, the real reasons for the closure were revealed. This is a way for the eastern neighbour to fight smuggling. The 28 days have passed. But there is no sign of the likely opening of borders. On the contrary, the customs services have listed other conditions that must be met to import petroleum products. Before that, the Director General of Customs insisted, during a visit to the field, that the borders will only be reopened once the countries concerned have accepted the conditions set by the Buhari administration.
As a sanction, the Nigerian head of state does not want to loosen the belt to his neighbours. Close relatives of the case report that the borders will remain locked for a long time. This makes life unbearable in several countries such as Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso and of course Benin. Producers are suffering. No product can cross the barriers to be sold on Nigerian soil. The smuggling fuel is on the rise, although sometimes the price drops before it rises again. The national economy suffers as a result. The Minister of State, Abdoulaye Bio Tchané, acknowledged this earlier this week in a publication of Fraternité .
The authorities seem insensitive to the situation
In the three countries most affected by this drastic measure, customs authorities recalled the 2003 clauses prohibiting the re-export of some 20 products to Nigeria. However, according to the Nigerian authorities, new conditions are needed for the track to be accessible. Since the Badagry clauses are not respected. It is therefore up to the concerned to take concerted action to submit their proposal to the Eastern giant within a reasonable time frame in order to hope for a solution to the crisis. Otherwise, not only will people remain indebted to microfinance institutions, but the state coffers, not to say the national budget, will be severely affected.