In the just concluded week, the Federal Government reopened four of the country’s land borders which were shut in October 2019.
The borders include: Seme border in the South-west region, Mfun border in the South-south region, as well as Ilela and Maigatari borders in the North-west region. However, the President did not lift the restrictions on importation of some commondities such as rice and poultry.
According to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, the border closure gave the security agencies oppourtunity to access prevalent insecurity challenge at the borders, and also eased the smuggling of petroleum products out of the country.
In another development, the Nigerian military, which had earlier considered the option of seeking external help from the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) to free the over 300 kidnapped schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School (GSSS) Katsina State, finally secured the release of the school children, hence bringing relief to the children’s families.
This also gave relief to the country already battling with intense insecurity as the repeat of Boko Haram’s 2014 kidnapping of more than 270 schoolgirls in the northeastern town of Chibok was averted.
According to Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, the release of the students was facilitated by the Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), who mediated between the Bandits and government.
He noted that no ransom was paid to secure the release of the children.
We feel that the reopening of the land borders by FG was in preparation for the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) scheduled to commence in January, 2021.
Also, we expect the reopening of borders to positively impact the rising inflation rate, especially the food inflation.
Given the country’s infrastructural deficit, it is clear that the closure of borders is grossly insufficient to promote local production.