Saturday, April 13Inside Business Africa
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Border Closure: Nigeria Traders Lament N13bn Weekly Loss

Nigerian traders under the platform of Arewa Economic Forum have cried out to the federal government to open an alternative route for them to continue trading activities with the nation’s partners.

This was as the traders association says its members lose about N13 million weekly to closure of the borders with Nigeria on a weekly basis. Why they condemned the coup in Niger, the farmers called on the federal government to avoid punishing innocent Nigerians in a bid to sanction the military junta in Niger.

The Nigerian government had on August 4th, 2023 closed all its land borders with Niger as part of sanctions against the ECOWAS member country over the military coup that took place there on July 26.

Seven northern Nigeria states, including Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina Jigawa, Yobe and Borno share a 1,608 kilometres long border with five regions in the Niger Republic

Chairman of Arewa Economic Forum Alhaji Ibrahim Danda-Kate said Nigerian authorities

should be mindful of the impact any closure of the border with Niger will create for Nigeria and other neighbouring nations.

He said Niger is a trade route to Mauritania, Mali and other trade partners with Nigeria.

Danda-Kate said “the financial loss is about N13bn per week. Any disruption in the lives of those people will have a devastating effect on Nigeria and the rate of refugees more than what Nigeria currently has. We are not prepared enough to take in more refugees from Niger.

“The sanctions should be targeted at the military officers and not the common people already living in penury. Please, don’t punish Nigerian trades.”

A member of the forum, Hamza Sale Jibia, said more than 2000 containers belonging to members of the association are currently held up in the borders, most of which he said are perishable goods.

The average value of a container is between $20,000 and $50,000.

The association members urged the federal government to open up the Maje-Illo border on the side of Kebbi State with Benin Republic.

Their argument is that the Maje-Illo border doesn’t have any connection with Niger. It is linked with Benin Republic.

“That is the area the government can take to reduce the negative impact of the border on Nigerians and Nigerian traders,” Jibia said at a press conference in Abuja yesterday.

The Arewa Economic Forum called on the authorities to employ diplomatic measures as the way to resolve the crisis. “The military should be the last resort.” While calling for a quick resolution of the crisis through diplomatic means, the forum called for caution not to cause another crisis for the region.

The fear is that all the gains of fighting against Boko Haram and ISWAP could be wiped out if Niger is allowed to fall into the hands of the military or the coup is not effectively managed.

SOURCE: LEADERSHIP

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