Nigeria said on Sunday that its land borders would remain closed to trade until at least 31 January 2020.
Nigeria launched a border closure to all trade via land borders last month for various reasons including security concerns and economic considerations, chief of which is to tackle smuggling of rice and other goods among others and protect local producers.
Joseph Attah, spokesman for the Nigerian customs service said the “present phase” of the closure would end on 31 January 2020, and that would not be the end of the closure.
“The operation is in phases, it will continue until the set objective is attained,” Attah.
The Nigerian action has affected trade in the West African region, causing diplomatic irritations among member states of the trading bloc ECOWAS. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana last week described the closure of the land border between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin a big blow to regional integration. “I believe that there are other considerations that we have to look at and examine to find a way so that we can live in this region in harmony and allow each one of us our national ambition to be fulfilled,” he added.
Ghanaian traders and manufacturers have openly called for a boycott of Nigerian goods over the issue.
Nigeria’s border closure follows similar actions by Kenya, Rwanda and Sudan in recent months. Analysts describe the moves are a slap in the face of continent’s integration efforts. The recently signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement provides for the free movement of goods and persons across African countries.