The Nigerian Senate has urged the federal government to reconsider reopening the land borders with Niger Republic. The Nigerian government had previously closed these borders in August as part of sanctions imposed on Niger due to a military coup that toppled President Mohamed Bazoum.
Senator Suleiman Kawu Sumaila, representing the NNPP from Kano, raised the issue during a Senate plenary session. He highlighted that the border closure had adversely affected economic activities in many border towns in several states, including Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno. Sumaila argued that the closure contradicts the constitutional provisions that guarantee the security and welfare of Nigerian citizens.
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, noted that the Senate had previously expressed support for ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) resolutions on the political situation in Niger Republic. ECOWAS had imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Niger, including a ‘no-fly zone’ over the country and an immediate border closure to pressure the military junta to relinquish power.
However, Akpabio stressed the need for the Senate to receive a comprehensive briefing from military authorities before taking a stance, as reopening the borders had potential security implications. As a result, he requested Senator Sumaila to withdraw the motion, and the motion was subsequently withdrawn.
The situation reflects the delicate balance between regional politics, security concerns, and economic interests in West Africa. The Nigerian Senate’s call for reopening the borders highlights the complexity of such decisions and their far-reaching implications.
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