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Reopening of Nigeria’s land borders in sight as Presidential panel ready with recommendations, to be submitted soon

President Muhammadu Buhari will soon receive a report of a Presidential committee constituted to advise on the reopening of Nigeria’s land borders, Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said on Wednesday.

Nigeria, the largest economy and the most prosperous of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), had last year August closed its land  borders, blaming the closure on need to stop the proliferation of illegal importation of drugs, small arms and agricultural products into Nigeria from neighbouring countries.

Mrs Ahmed, while responding to inquiries on when the borders will be reopened, told journalists at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that the Committee, which was set up by President Buhari to advised him on the next line of action on the border closure development, had done an assessment of the gains of the closure.

On presentation of the report, the President will determine the next line of action. 

According to Ms Ahmed, “Mr President has set up a committee that I chair, alongside the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other Ministers, including Interior, the Customs, Immigration, the security services, to review and advise him on the issue of border closure. 

“The committee has just completed its work and we’ll be submitting our report. I’ve signed my copy, I gave everybody to sign between today and tomorrow so that we submit the report to Mr President.”

Ahmed, who wassilent on the day of submission and possible date of reopening the borders, had at the recent 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES #26), gave assurance that the borders would be reopened soon.

She added: “We have made an assessment. The president set up a Committee. We have made an assessment. And all the members of the Committee agreed and are recommending to the president that it is time to reopen the borders.

“The objective has been met in the sense that we have been able, over these couple of months, to work together with our partners in a tripartite Committee and do a joint border patrol together and reinforced the sanctity of the commitments that we made to each other.

“So, each side has learnt its lesions. Nigeria has been affecting our partners in terms of businesses that we have in Nigeria as well. So, we will be expecting that the borders will be reopened very soon. The date will be decided by Mr President.”

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