Niger: FG shuts border, northern senators reject military invention
5th August 2023
Tope Omogbolagun, Godfrey George, Solomon Odeniyi, Abiodun Sanusi and Olaide Oyelude
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The Federal Government has closed the country’s border with the Republic of Niger following the recent military takeover in the West African country.
This was as President Bola Tinubu on Friday wrote to the Senate seeking its support for military intervention against the junta in the Niger Republic.
The Nigeria Customs Service acting Comptroller, Bashir Adewale, had on Friday in Magamar-Jibia, Nigeria’s` border with the Niger Republic, officially announced the closure of all Nigeria’s land borders with the neighbouring country as a result of the current political development there.
The NCS boss said the closure of land borders order was issued by President Tinubu in line with the decision arrived at by ECOWAS.
Recall that Tinubu, Nigeria’s President and the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, had on Sunday met with some fellow ECOWAS leaders to discuss appropriate ways to restore democracy in Niger.
The leaders of the West African regional bloc met to discuss sanctions to be placed against the military personnel who toppled Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, 2023.
The leader of the junta, General Abdourahmane Tchiani-led was said to be considering recalling the Nigerien Ambassador to Nigeria after failing to come to terms with ECOWAS and Nigerian delegations on the need to return democracy to Niger.
Speaking on the closure of the Nigerian border with Niger, Adewale declared that there would be no movement of goods from Nigeria to Niger and vice versa until further notice.
The Custom’s boss said, “My being in Magamar-Jibia, Nigeria border with the Niger Republic this afternoon is to announce the total blockade of movements of goods to the Niger Republic through all Nigeria land borders.
“The NCS, workings in synergy with other sister agencies will enforce the blockade order as given by President Bola Tinubu who is also the current Chairman of ECOWAS.
“The ECOWAS leaders collectively took the decision against the Niger Republic to kick against the military putsch in the Niger Republic.”
Adewale also met some of the stakeholders at Magamar-Jibia and pleaded for their understanding and cooperation with the NCS to see to the full implementation of the blockade order.
Meanwhile, President Tinubu, in his letter to the Senate, sought the backing of the legislature on the cutting off of electricity to the country.
The President’s letter read, “Following the unfortunate political situation in Niger Republic culminating in the overthrow of its President, ECOWAS under my leadership condemned the coup in its entirety and resolved to seek the return of the democratically elected govt in a bid to restore peace, ECOWAS convened a meeting and came out with a communiqué.”
The President further sought support for, “military build-up and deployment of personnel for military intervention to enforce compliance of the military junta in Niger should they remain recalcitrant.
“Closure and monitoring of all land borders with the Niger Republic and reactivating of the border drilling exercise, cutting off electricity supply to the Niger Republic, mobilising international support for the implementation of the provisions of the ECOWAS communique.”
The letter further read, “Preventing the operation of commercial and special flights into and from Niger Republic; blockade of goods in transit to Niger especially from Lagos and eastern seaports.”
Tinubu also told the Senate that the country was embarking on the sensitisation of Nigerians and Nigeriens to the imperative of these actions, particularly via social media.
In a related development, the Northern Senators Forum has cautioned against the use of military power toward tackling the military coup in Niger Republic, calling for diplomatic options to address the situation.
Senator Suleiman Kawu(NNPP-Kano), the spokesperson for the forum, said this when he briefed newsmen in Abuja on Friday