Northern Traders Face Substantial Losses as Borders Remain Closed

In the wake of the ongoing crisis in Niger Republic, northern traders are grappling with significant financial setbacks, with losses totaling approximately N13 billion since the closure of borders in the region.

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This predicament arose after President Bola Tinubu’s directive on August 4, 2023, to close all borders with Niger Republic following the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Subsequent to the presidential order, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has enforced the closure of several border points, including Jibiya in Katsina state, Illelah in Sokoto, and Maigatari in Jigawa.

The ramifications of these border closures have become increasingly challenging for traders attempting to transport their goods into the country.

Ibrahim Yahaya Dandakata, the Chairman of Arewa Economic Forum, addressed this issue during a press conference in Abuja on Sunday.

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Dandakata highlighted the substantial adverse effects of the border closure, revealing that northern traders have collectively incurred a staggering N13 billion in losses since the borders were closed.

He made a fervent appeal to the Nigerian government, urging the reopening of the Maje-Illo border in Kebbi to facilitate the smooth importation of goods by traders.

Dandakata emphasized, “The consequences have been enormous since the President’s order to close all borders with Niger Republic following the announcement of the coup.

Northern traders have been losing N13 billion weekly.

The trade relationship between Niger and Nigeria predominantly involves informal transactions, particularly in perishable goods.

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In the past year alone, this trade is estimated at approximately N177 billion, encompassing goods like livestock and food items.

Prolonged border closure would severely jeopardize this thriving trade between the two nations.”

The chairman further appealed to President Tinubu to reconsider the border closure, specifically calling for the reopening of the Maje-Illo border in Kebbi state.

This action would allow traders to import their goods into the country and subsequently enable customs to collect the required import duties.

Hamza Saleh Jibiya, a trader and member of the forum, echoed the concerns of his fellow traders during the press conference.

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He revealed that around 2,000 containers, laden with both perishable and non-perishable goods, remain trapped and uncleared due to the border closure.

With the average value of a container estimated to be between $20,000 and $70,000, the total value of goods in these containers amounts to an approximate N140 billion.

Jibiya and his associates firmly advocated for the federal government to prioritize the reopening of the Maje-Illo border in Kebbi, allowing them to resume their business operations and mitigate further financial losses.

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