For more than two months now, Nigeria has kept its borders closed with neighbouring countries, particularly Benin and Niger. In recent days, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been working to find an exit strategy. In the final communiqué of its last Summit, it is mentioned that the countries involved will be in conclave on 14 November 2019 to find a solution to the situation.
The tripartite meeting between Nigeria, Benin and Niger announced by ECOWAS is certainly a decisive meeting that could lead Nigeria to reconsider its position. In fact, this meeting, to be held on 14th November in Abuja, will enable the countries affected by the closure of the Nigerian borders to convince the “big neighbour” of the measures taken to meet the demands of Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
Officially, Nigeria says it has closed its borders to combat the smuggling of rice that has been flooding its market in recent years. Border countries were therefore asked to take strong measures to put an end to this practice. With regard to Benin, the authorities announced a few days ago that the administration is working to resolve the issues raised by Nigeria. If during the Abuja meeting, Benin and Niger present convincing measures to meet the requirements, Nigeria could break the lock at its borders.