Nigeria announces immediate reopening of land borders

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari meets with national security leaders in Abuja, Nigeria.

Nigeria will reopen four border crossing points immediately, more than a year after closing its land frontiers to crack down on smuggling, the government said on Wednesday.

Nigeria closed its land borders last year to curb smuggling of rice and arms, which it says threatens efforts to boost local production and security, and to generate state revenues through import duties.

The government at a cabinet meeting approved the reopening of Seme border to the South West, Illela and Maigatari border in the North West and Mfun in the South. The others will be reopened on December 31.

It kept restrictions on rice import and some other products.

Last month, the government ratified its membership of the African free-trade zone due to be launched in January, after initial reluctance to join the bloc for fear of exposing local industries to dumping by countries outside Africa.

Discussions to reopen Nigeria’s borders closed to the movement of goods have been going on for months. Nigeria has insisted on levying duties on goods transiting its country through neighbouring nations to curb smuggling.

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