By Temitope Akintoye,
The Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, has persuaded President Muhammadu Buhari to consider reopening of Nigerian borders from prolonged partial closure which had brought hardship on bilateral trading relationships between Nigeria and its neighboring countries.
Akufo-Addo said that his country understood Nigeria’s need to protect its people and that border reopening considerations was important to Ghanaian economy of his country.
Speaking during a meeting with Buhari, held on sidelines at UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 in London, on Tuesday, the Ghanaian president commended Buhari on the bold step taken to address issues surrounding Nigerian borders and tightening them against criminal ventures.
“I would like to appeal that the Nigerian Border closure be lifted as soon as possible. The Nigerian market is significant for certain categories of business owners in Ghana and contributes massively to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). I understand that the borders were closed for the good of the Nigerian people, but we in Ghana will also like your consideration as we bare the brunt of the closure.”
It was gathered that business owners who trade between Nigeria and Ghana had continued feeling negative impact of border closure which had severely affected the country’s economic well-being.
It would be recalled that the borders were put under lock by Federal Government who’s decisions on border closure were based on need to curb smuggling of contraband goods and basically have control over what comes in to the country through those nations it shares border with.
On Buhari’s part, effects of border closure on Ghana were indeed sad and regrettable but inevitable on his government’s drive for a better Nigeria.
He said, “It is regrettable that the partial land border closure has had such negative impacts on our neighbors but we, as Nigerians, cannot leave our country, particularly the youths, endangered.
“The Sahel region is awash with small arms, which is a major reason behind the severe security challenges in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger and my country, Nigeria.
“Contrary to popular opinion, we did not close our borders only because food products were being smuggled in, but also because arms, ammunition and hard drugs were being ferried into the country and I can not keep my eyes open and watch our youths being destroyed through cheap hard drugs and the compromise of security caused by an unbridled influx of small arms.”
On time frame for reopening borders, Buhari stated that there was no decision made yet on date for the closed border reopening and that Nigerian government may have to wait till committee set up to look into the matter submits its report.
“We will get things sorted out. Our farmers, especially those who grow rice, now have a market and are happy, and we are also concerned about hard drugs and weapons but once the committee comes up with its recommendations, we will sit, consider them and finalize plans for border reopening,”