Nigeria, Niger, Benin to set date for reopening of borders

Nigeria, Niger and Benin on Thursday agreed that a joint border patrol team from the three countries will meet later in November to set up a date for the opening of the borders after months of closure.

The measure was agreed upon at a meeting of the Tripartite Anti-Smuggling Committee between the three countries at the Economic Community of West African States Secretariat in Abuja.

In August, Nigeria partially closed its border with Benin and Niger in a bid to curb massive smuggling activities, especially of rice, occurring in that area.

The effects of the blockade have been felt as far as Ghana with manufacturers complaining about the impact on costs. Factories and traders have struggled to import key raw materials and had to use alternative routes for their exports.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had previously indicated that the closure was restricted to allow security personnel to contain the situation and he would consider fully re-opening the border in the future.

The three countries also reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing economic integration following the tensions that arose from the border closure.

Benin is a key transit route for traders and operates a system that allows landlocked neighboring countries to use its harbors for imports.

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