Nigeria lifts 18-month closure of land borders, presidency says

President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate reopening of four land borders.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The virtual FEC was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Buhari, who is on a state visit to Kastina State, joined the virtual meeting from his hometown, Daura.

Ahmed listed the borders as Seme, South-West, Ilela, North-West, Maigatari, North-West/North-Central and Mfun in South-South.

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“The president has approved the recommendation of a committee, which I chaired, with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Interior, Foreign Affairs, National Security Adviser, Comptroller-General of Customs and Comptroller-General of Immigration.

“This committee was mandated to review and advise the president on the opening of Nigeria’s land borders.

“The president has approved the reopening of four land borders, namely, Seme, South-West, Ilela, North West, Maigatari border in the North-West and North-Central and Mfum in the South-South.

“These four land borders will be opened immediately, while the remaining land borders are directed to be reopened on or before Dec. 31,’’ she said.

She said that Buhari also directed that while the borders were being reopened, the ban on the importation of rice, poultry and other products still subsisted and would be implemented by the border patrol team.

Buhari, had on August 2019, directed the closing of Nigeria’s borders to curb smuggling of goods and weapons.