ECOWAS Sanctions: Nigeria Lawmaker Call For Reopening Of Borders With Niger Republic

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Barely few months after the closing of Nigeria and Niger Republic boarder, the House of Representatives has requested the Federal Government to reopen the country’s borders with Niger Republic.

The lower chamber requested that government to unlock the borders of Maigatari, Mai’Aduwa, Kongwalam, and Illela.

This was passed at the plenary session on Tuesday after a motion presented by Kano member Aliyu Madaki was adopted.

Recall that after a military coup in the Niger Republic in August of last year, FG shut the country’s borders with that of the neighbouring country.

The border was sealed off following the Economic Community of West African States’ embargo on the nation.

The Nigeria Customs Service asserts that the country’s borders with the Niger Republic were shut due to an ECOWAS directive to restrict cargo movement until further notice, not because war had been declared.

Also, the senate and other stakeholders had urged President Bola Tinubu, chairman of ECOWAS, to adopt diplomatic measures to end the nation’s political turmoil.

Madaki moved the motion, claiming that the border towns of Maigatari in Jigawa, Kongwalam in Katsina, and Illela in Sokoto are “large markets where substantial international trades” occur within Nigerians and residents of neighboring nations like Niger, Mali, Chad, and Cameroon.

The border restriction, according to him, has caused “indescribable sufferings” for the populace and “hostility” between them and neighboring Nigerien citizens.

“The hardships brought on by the shutdown of the border have given cause for smuggling activities, with a rising proportion of the youth in the affected communities getting involved. Some of them have even been persuaded to engage in terrorism and criminal activity, which may worsen the already present insecurity in Nigeria.

“Reopening the borders and tightly controlling the cross-border market will foster peaceful and cordial relations between Nigeria and her close neighbors.

“Stemming the epidemic of smuggling and other trans-border criminality which have harmed the nation’s economy and image will be accomplished by reopening the borders, he stated.

Tajudeen Abbas, Speaker of the House, put the motion to a voice vote and was approved.

Legislators did, however, oppose an amendment to the motion that called for the restoration of some southern border crossings that were shut down under the previous president, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari.