By Our Correspondents
Following the persistent calls by Nigerians and other West African leaders for the Nigerian government to reopen its land borders ,president Muhammadu Buhari finally bowed to pressure..
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved the recommendation of a committee for the reopening of four land borders with immediate effect, while others will be reopened in due course.
The Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this after a virtual meeting, said restriction on the importation of some commodities, like rice and other products would continue.
The borders opened for now include Seme and Mfun borders in the Southwest, Ilela and Maigatari borders in the Northwest.
Recall that in August,2019 President Muhammadu Buhari ordered closure of Nigeria’s land border with Benin, preventing the import of goods. The move significantly affected trade in foodstuffs, which had already been affected by various past import restrictions.
This move was part of an effort to tackle smuggling and associated corruption, but also to spur the domestic agricultural industry. On October 14, Nigeria ordered closure of all of Nigeria’s borders with Benin, as well as those with all other countries, for the same reasons. With the market for smuggled food restricted, domestic food prices—already high—have gone up and the economy of neighboring Benin—a staging area for smuggling into Nigeria—has been devastated. Imports into Nigeria are to come through sea ports, where customs duties can be imposed more easily than at land borders. Nigeria’s vital oil exports are not affected.