Nigeria, Benin and Niger form patrol team to facilitate reopening of borders
Nigeria, Benin and Niger have agreed to form a joint border patrol team comprising officials from the police, customs, immigration, navy and other state security services of the three countries to monitor activities that will facilitate the reopening of the Nigeria-Benin borders.
The decision was contained in a communiqué issued by the ECOWAS Tripartite Anti-Smuggling Committee and sighted by Citi Business News. The committee, which is made up of officials from the three countries, met in Abuja last Friday.
The Joint Patrol Team will hold its first meeting on the 25th and 26th of November. The team has been tasked to, among other things, evaluate and manage the situation at the borders, and recommend a reopening.
At the meeting, the three countries also agreed to establish a Monitoring and Evaluation Committee comprising their ministers of Finance, Trade and Foreign Affairs, as well officials from their security services that will work to suppress the smuggling of goods to and from these countries going forward.
The delegation from Benin and Niger after the meeting appealed to Nigerian authorities to immediately reopen their borders. But it is not clear if Nigeria is convinced with this agreement which is being facilitated by ECOWAS Commission for Trade and Industry to reopen the borders before the January 2020 timeline.
If reopened, it means the millions worth of goods belonging to Ghanaian traders stuck at those borders could make their way to their destinations. Nigeria closed its land borders to trade two months ago in an effort to curb smuggling and informal trade of goods, a decision that has not gone down well with its neighbours.