A Nigerian senator has urged the federal government to reopen the border with the Niger Republic, saying the closure has caused severe economic and social problems for the people living in the border states.
Senator Adamu Aliero, who represents Kebbi Central Senatorial District, said in an interview with Arise News Television on Tuesday that the border closure was unnecessary, as it violated the principles of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“The foreign policy of any country should be a reflection of its domestic policy. Our domestic policy is to take care of the interest and welfare of Nigerians,” he said.
He added that the closure of the border between Nigeria and Niger Republic had caused enormous hardships to the people in Nigeria, not only in Kano, but also across Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno State.
“Our legislators from these states have called on the federal government to open the border without any delay because it has caused a lot of economic distortions to these states. It has pushed a number of people into serious poverty. It has pushed a number of people into serious unemployment. It has caused very serious friction between Niger and Nigeria,” he said.
He noted that Niger and Nigeria had been very strong allies from time immemorial, and these two countries were inseparable.
“It is just a colonial demarcation of boundaries that made them separate. After all, before the colonial masters’ incursion in Nigeria, Niger and Nigeria are the same people, same religion, same tribe, same culture. There are intermarriages between Niger and Nigeria,” he said.
He said that the border closure had also affected the movement of goods and services across the region, as many trucks loaded with various commodities were stranded at the border.
“Right now if you go to the border, you will see close to about 1500 truck load of various goods that are prevented from coming into Nigeria. Some of these trucks are not coming from Niger alone, some are from Mali, some are from Benin Republic, some are from Burkina Faso, some are from even Cameroon. Some businessmen have been made to suffer a lot of losses as a result of the closure,” he said.
In August 2023, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) announced the closure of all land borders connecting Nigeria with the Niger Republic following the coup that occurred in the Republic of Niger.
NCS stated that the decision to completely block the borders was made in compliance with the directive of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to suspend the movement of cargo until further notice.