In the wake of the Federal Government’s decision to close borders with Niger Republic following political upheaval, the commercial landscape in border communities of Katsina, Sokoto, Borno, and Zamfara states has crumbled. The closure has led to the collapse of commercial activities, leaving truckloads of goods stranded and businesses paralyzed. Despite heavy security presence, smuggling activities are thriving through illegal borders, exacerbating economic strain.
Katsina Struggles Amid Closure
In Katsina State, border closures at Magamar-Jibia and Kwangolam have devastated economic activities. Residents express frustration at the dwindling trade, forcing many to shift from transborder commerce to agriculture and livestock. Security checkpoints dotting the Kwangolam route stand vacant, symbolizing the economic standstill and plight of the affected communities.
Jibia’s Dismal State and Security Challenges
Jibia town, once a bustling commercial hub, now mirrors a ghost town with closed shops and traders resorting to selling agricultural produce. Traders highlight extortion issues even before the border closure, compounding the economic hardship. Banditry further worsens the situation, restricting farming activities and exacerbating food scarcity.
Zamfara’s Porous Borders Fuel Smuggling
Zamfara, with over 100 porous borders, witnesses unchecked movement of goods with minimal security presence. The closure’s impact has crumbled, prompting increased smuggling through unofficial channels. The lack of official border posts has heightened smuggling activities, reflecting the collapse of the closure arrangement.
Sokoto’s Illela: Economic Standstill
Thebonce vibrant border town of Illela in Sokoto State now faces economic turmoil. Residents heavily reliant on border activities struggle to sustain their livelihoods, with trucks loaded with goods trapped at the border since the closure. Despite pleas, goods remain stranded, leaving many feeling neglected by the government.
Borno’s Transborder Traders Struggle
Transborder traders in Borno State grapple with a drastic 70% decline in commercial activities due to the closure. Traders recount losses, goods left to waste, and a significant impact on their livelihoods. The closure has devastated the transborder trade, affecting both Nigerien and Nigerian traders.
Appeals Amidst Economic Desolation
Amidst the economic devastation, traders and stakeholders in affected states appeal for a review of the border closure. They underscore the dire consequences of the closure on local economies, livelihoods, and the exacerbation of smuggling activities.
The impact of the border closure echoes beyond economic ramifications, affecting livelihoods, food security, and regional trade relationships, calling for a reevaluation of the current policy’s effects on the affected communities.