Nigeria To Form Border Force With Neighbors, Benin And Niger To Fight Smuggling

Nigeria To Form Border Force With Neighbors, Benin And Niger To Fight Smuggling
Foreign ministers from the three countries met to discuss smuggling following a decision by regional giant Nigeria, which has Africa's largest economy and biggest population, to close its land borders to trade until at least Jan. 31, 2020.
Nigeria launched a partial border closure in August to tackle the issues of smuggling of rice and other goods. The head of customs, last month confirmed that all trade via land borders had been halted indefinitely.
The joint communique from the meeting in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, said the Niger and Benin delegations had appealed for the immediate re-opening of Nigeria's borders.
The concerns were noted and the delegates agreed on the "establishment of a joint border patrol team comprising the police, customs, immigration, navy and state security services of the three countries", the communique said.
The force will hold its first meeting in Abuja on Nov. 25 and 26 and will later advise on the re-opening of the borders.

The delegates also agreed that the ministers of finance and trade from the countries would set up a committee to promote intra-regional trade, and said they would ensure people crossing their borders would display travel documents recognised by the Economic Community of West African States regional bloc.

Since taking office in 2015, Nigerian President Buhari has introduced policies aimed at curbing imports and smuggling, to boost local production.

Despite being Africa's top crude oil producer, Nigeria imports most of its refined fuel due to the moribund state of its refineries.

Some 10-20% of Nigerian fuel is then smuggled to neighbouring countries, according to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, as gasoline is heavily subsidised in the country and prices are higher in neighbouring countries.

In July, Nigeria signed up to the African Continental Free Trade Area, a project to create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc, despite its fears that it could be flooded with cheap goods from competitive neighbours.

Meanwhile, check out amazing photos of Goodluck Jonathan and wife as they storm Rivers State.
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