The Republics of Benin and Niger have failed to meet the conditions for the reopening of Nigeria’s land borders, according to the Nigerian Government.
This was stated by , the Minister of Information and Culture when he led a government delegation to the Seme border yesterday. Judging from the rate at which goods were smuggled and the number of illegal immigrants arrested over the last two weeks, the Minister noted that nothing was done by the neighbouring countries to address the issues that led to the closure of the borders.
The Federal Government announced five conditions that would make it reopen the borders after the closure. One of those conditions is that Nigeria would turn down imported goods repackaged by neighbouring countries and brought to Nigeria.
Another condition requires immigrants to identify themselves by providing a passport. These agreements were reached during a meeting of Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Temporary Partial Closure of Land Borders in Abuja. Giving an account of the events that occurred during the border closure, the Information Minister said,
“Local consumption of fuel had dropped by 30% apparently due to the reduction in smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries. “The partial closure has so far curbed the smuggling of foreign rice into the country, in addition to other prohibited items. Our series of interactions and engagements with the Rice Miller Association of Nigeria since the commencement of this exercise has shown that the border closure has enhanced more production and milling of Nigerian rice.
“Patronage of Nigerian rice has increased and farmers are expanding their farms as well as engaging more hands. Furthermore, the border closure has impacted positively on revenue generation of the Federal Government which in turn will be used to build more infrastructure and develop critical sectors of the nation’s economy.
“The border exercise has also curbed diversion of petroleum products from Nigeria to neighbouring countries,” Lai explained.