President Muhammadu Buhari says he has not given any date for the reopening of Nigeria’s land borders.
He said that the closure would remain until the situation improved. Recall that Nigeria partially closed its land borders in August, mainly to check the mass smuggling of products like rice and petrol.
In October the Comptroller-General of the Nigerians Customs Service, Hameed Ali, announced that “all goods for now are banned from being exported or imported through our land borders and that is to ensure we have total control over what comes in.”
This was the first official confirmation of a full border closure. He said that, reopening the border depends largely on the “neighboring countries ability to comply with the rules governing cross-border trade”.
Nigeria’s neighbouring countries (Niger and Benin) that were affected economically by their inability to export into Nigeria then made demands. That led to a tripartite committee being formed. The committee is still working to resolve contentious issues.
Critics of the border closure have highlighted the rising prices of food products, inflation, and presence of smuggled goods despite the border closure as evidence the policy is wrong.
Undeterred by the criticism, the Nigerian government recently announced that the borders will remain shut till at least January 2020.