Border closure - Impact, way forward
The extension of the closure of Nigeria's border with neighbouring countries to Jan. 31 by President Muhammadu Buhari has once again sparked various reactions. In this special report, Rita Omodia takes a holistic view on the impact of border closure in Nigeria and the way forward.
The milieu of border closure has again taken another twist as President Muhammadu Buhari approved the extension of border closure with neighbouring countries till January 31, 2020. The Federal Government partially closed the land borders with neighbouring countries in August to address smuggling activities in the border areas. The exercise came without any prior notice and expected terminal date. To some, the fiscal policy was imposed without availing people the opportunity to prepare for the consequences of the ‘‘homeland security’’ measure, while to others it is a win-win for the country.
The restriction triggered uncertainty around the affected borders and carried its own implications, especially for those that make legitimate use of the borders for personal and business purposes.
Asides its negative effects on people profiteering, international relationship constraints; the partial closure imposed by the federal government has also brought about certain positive turns, which financial expert, Segun Sopitan clearly posits.
Moving on, aviation expert and public affairs analyst, Dr. Dayo Kayode disputes the need for a border closure as it clearly negates the rules of international diplomacy and does not leave a permanent solution to smuggling activities.
According to The presidential directive released, the memo states that despite the overwhelming success of the operation, particularly the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved. The memo further states that the closure of land borders was extended till January to achieve the strategic objectives of the exercise.
With this new date released, does it mean that Nigeria has finally made headway in dealing with smuggling activities? And what happens next after postulated extension. Well, only time will tell