Nigeria to reopen land borders soon, says Buhari

The border closure has caused rancour between Nigeria and her neighbours, especially Ghana, and its economic impact has been severe for Nigerians who depend on imported food to address shortfalls in local production

Nigeria is looking to reopen its land borders more than a year after their closure, President Muhammadu Buhari has announced.

President Buhari disclosed this at a meeting on Tuesday (8 December) with governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.

He said the closure of the borders was also an attempt to control smuggling of weapons and drugs from neighbouring countries.

“Now that the message has sunk in with our neighbours, we are looking into reopening the borders as soon as possible,” the president’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, quoted him as saying.

Worst recession

Nigeria first showed a willingness to reopen the border last month, amid soaring food prices and calls for free movement of goods. The move came after the nation fell into its second recession in five years, according to data on gross domestic product released by the National Bureau of Statistics for the third quarter of 2020.

Many have attributed the recession partly to the closure, which has been in place since August 2019 and has had various damaging effects, including pushing inflation to a 30-month high.

Policy experts have said that lifting the blockade will help check the recession, the nation’s worst in decades, and ease the hardship faced by Nigerians.

Last month Nigeria’s minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, said President Buhari would soon receive a report by a presidential committee to advise on reopening of the borders.

The border closure has caused rancour between Nigeria and neighbouring countries, especially Ghana.

Its economic impact has been severe for ordinary Nigerians who depend on imported food to cover shortfalls in local production, as well as manufacturers looking to expand into other West African markets.

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