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Saturday, September 16, 2023

Niger Border Closure: Business Activities Suffer As Black Marketers Benefit

As power tussle between Niger coup plotters and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), lingers, local traders along Nigeria-Niger border in Sokoto State, have lamented the continued decrease in their business activities amid continued border closure.

The traders who spoke to France24 decried that their businesses are going down on a daily basis amidst uncertainty as to when the borders will be opened. But it is a boom for black marketers.

According to donkey-driven cart drivers, passing the border is easy for them as they only bribe security officials with small tokens.

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“We probably meet the security personnel, we have to pay them a bribe so that they let us pass,” one of the black marketers hurriedly said as he was anxious to deliver his wares to buyers at the other side of the borders.

For the stranded truck drivers carrying goods across the borders, it was a hellish experience as many of them are running out of food supplies, with some spending a day without eating.

The drivers most of which are from central Nigeria, expressed fear that many will die as a result of hunger if the border continued to remain closed.

“People go die if they leave this border like that, people go die,” a driver who was sleeping under his truck said in Pidgin. “No work. From morning to night I dey hungry, I no take anything for my mouth.”

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Apart from stranded truck drivers, cattle marketers along the border towns also suffer the impact of the border closure as they witnessed a continued decline in their daily sales.

The cattle dealers said only a few animals were sold on a daily basis compared to the past.

Muhammad Mudanca Yabo, head of Bodinga Livestock, market Sokoto, said as a result of border closure, they suffer huge economic loss as only a few animals were brought to the market, adding herders from Niger deserted the market.

“The closing of borders really affects our business. Initially, we have three times as many animals here because people no longer bring them. Before on a market day, we sell 900 cattle,” said Yabo.

He, however, opined that only peace talks will resolve the impasse, noting that the use of military power will lead to further hardship and loss of lives.

“All I want is peace talks to resolve the conflict. We have families in Niger, if they use force it will lead to loss of lives,” he said.


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