The borders include, that with Benin, Cameroon and Niger, while the rest will be opened from December 31, 2020.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has ordered the opening of four land frontiers at Seme in the South West (with Benin), Illela, Maigatari in the North (with Niger) and Mfun in the South (with Cameroon). In a communique made public on December 16, 2020 by the Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shebu, the Nigerian Head of State said, the border closure was a major weapon to fight illicit trade that threatens efforts to boost local production and security, and the generation of State revenues through import duties.
Aljazeera reports that at the border with Benin (Seme), where hundreds of trucks were blocked and business paralyzed for a year and a half, the Nigerian announcement has been received with great joy and relief, even though the importation of some essential goods like rice and chicken is still forbidden. According to the government statement, the measures which are aimed at controlling the galloping inflation would be extended to other frontiers from December 31, 2020
In August 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari unilaterally ordered the closure of Nigeria’s borders to prevent smuggling of rice and other products, in attempts to ensure food self-sufficiency. Since then food prices have soared, reaching an all-time high of 18.3%, while inflation in the country of the more than 200 million people rose to a three-year high of 14.9%, according to data from the country’s data agency, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Before the closure, a number of Nigerian business leaders have been complaining about attitude of Benin authorities. They claim their trucks going to Benin are overtaxed at the border,” says a Beninese businessman with links in Nigeria. “In addition, businessman Aliko Dangote, who bought the Nigerian government’s shares in the Lafarge group, wants to sell his cement in Benin, which President Talon is prohibiting.” No surprise, that Dangote emerged as a mediator between Buhari and Benin President Patrice Talon.