Following the Federal Government of Nigeria’s decision to reopen the Nigeria-Niger Republic land and air borders, there has been no response from Nigerien authorities, who have chosen to keep their entry points closed,Daily Trust reports.

The reopening of borders between Nigeria and Niger Republic was announced on March 13, 2024. Despite efforts by Nigerian security agencies like the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to facilitate movement along border communities, their counterparts in Niger have not reciprocated.

Residents of border communities, particularly on the Nigerian side, have expressed hope that the directive from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reopen the borders will ease trading activities and improve relations with their neighbors. This directive aligns with the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government at its Extraordinary Summit on February 24, 2024, in Abuja.

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In response to Tinubu’s directive, the Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI), Kemi Nandap, instructed all comptrollers stationed at states and border commands along the Nigeria-Niger Republic border to promptly lift restrictions on human movement.

The closure of the border was initially imposed as part of sanctions to restore democratic order after a military intervention in Niger that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. However, with the two countries heavily reliant on each other for economic and social activities, there is growing anticipation for a return to normalcy.

While investigations show that borders on the Nigerian side have mostly reopened, the situation is different on the Nigerien side. Residents report encountering barriers set up by Nigerien authorities, hindering cross-border movement and trade.

In Katsina State, for instance, residents of the border town of Kongolam have faced obstructions from Nigerien police, who have blocked pathways despite the border reopening on the Nigerian side. This has disrupted trade and caused frustration among affected communities.

Similarly, in Jigawa State, the Maigatari border remains closed on the Nigerien side, despite reopening on the Nigerian side. Residents express hope that once both borders fully reopen, it will lead to positive outcomes for cross-border trade and economic activities.

In Kebbi State, international borders with Niger Republic are still shut on both sides, despite the presidential directive to reopen them.

However, in Sokoto State, residents of Illela town welcome the border reopening, expressing relief after enduring hardships during the closure. They anticipate a revival of cross-border trade and economic activities.

Despite these optimistic sentiments, traders in Borno and Yobe States remain skeptical about the impact of the border reopening, citing ongoing challenges such as high exchange rates and strict regulations imposed by Nigerien authorities.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service emphasizes that laws governing imports and exports remain in force, including restrictions on certain items, to ensure compliance with fiscal policies and regulations.


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