Nigerian Traders Protest Seme Border Closure

SOME AGGRIEVED Nigerian traders have protested their government’s decision to close its borders with Benin.

This is because it has become difficult for traders from other West African states to transport their goods to Nigeria.

The Seme-Krake border was closed on August 21, 2019, with Nigerian authorities saying at the time that they were trying to control to transportation of contraband goods into West Africa’s most populous nation.

The impact of the border closure has been severe on Ghanaian traders, especially members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

GUTA has been pressuring the government to ensure that Nigeria reopens the border to allow Ghanaian traders who are currently stranded at the border to enter Nigeria with their goods.

But the continuous closure of the border is now affecting Nigerian traders as well, hence their protest action.

On Thursday, October 31, 2019, a group of Nigerian traders stormed Nigeria’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment premises to register their displeasure over the unpopular decision of the President Buhari’s administration.

The protestors chanted war songs, calling on the Buhari – led government to stop using high-handed tactics in solving issues bordering on smuggling of illicit goods.

The protestors urged the regime to adopt dialogue and diplomacy to tackle the problem with their neighbour, Benin.

The presence of the protestors compelled the Nigerian officials at the Trade, Industry and Investment Ministry to change location of a meeting between them and a Ghanaian delegation.

The Ghanaian delegation comprising Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Trade and Industry, Charles Owiredu and Carlos Ahenkora, respectively, were in Nigeria to find an amicable solution to the border closure.

The meeting was then relocated to Hilton Transcorp Hotel in Abuja.

The demonstration attracted police to the Ministry of Trade to maintain law and order.

GUTA’s fresh concern

In another development, GUTA has called for Ghanaian trucks stranded in Nigeria for weeks now following the closure of the country’s border at Seme to be allowed to move out.

GUTA says it is not bothered by the extension of the border closure so long as Ghanaian traders who are already in Nigeria are allowed to return to Ghana with their products.

Nigeria has extended the period for the closure of its frontiers to other countries till January 31, 2020.