The federal government of Nigeria on Monday listed conditions to be put in place before any attempt is made to open its borders.
Despite pressure from Benin Republic and Niger Republic – Western and Northern neighboring countries – because of the effect the border closure has on their economy, the government has extended the closure till January 31, 2020 when the action will be reviewed. Meanwhile, Togo and Ghana have also been clamouring for the borders to be reopened.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffery Onyema who on Monday in Abuja rolled out the conditions said they would be presented to Benin and Niger governments at a meeting in the next two weeks. Also Customs Comptroller-General, Col. Ahmadu Ali (rtd), dismissed the possibility of the borders’ reopening in January.
The Minister and the comptroller spoke on Monday at the end of the tripartite meeting of Federal Government committee on border closure. With them at the meeting was Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola.
As said by the minister, only travel documents authorized for anybody coming into the country thorough the land borders is the official passport. No form of identity cards will henceforth be acceptable, he said.
Also the preconditions to allow goods and humans into the country will apply to all ECOWAS member states. Onyeama said the conditions are aimed at ensuring that the country does not end up as dumping ground and besides, he noted that there must be a recognised proper transportation system for importation of goods into Nigeria.
The minister said within the next two weeks, a tripartite committee is to be convened and hosted here in Nigeria, comprising the delegation- committee from Benin Republic, Niger and Nigeria. Each country will come with the heads of the ministries of foreign affair, interior, finance, the customs, immigration and the NIA, the security segment. It will take place within the next two weeks .
“This is an absolute condition that will not be compromised. For goods predominantly produced in ECOWAS member state, the rules of origin must be satisfied.
“We have to avoid any possibility of dumping. Goods coming from an ECOWAS country claimed to originate from an ECOWAS member state must be over 30 per cent input of an ECOWAS member state to avoid situations where countries outside ECOWAS region would merely export their goods into ECOWAS members states, repackaged as those coming from ECOWAS member state, with little value addition and exported to Nigeria.