Senator Adamu Aliero, representing Kebbi Central District, has voiced concerns over the adverse effects of the continued closure of Nigerian borders with the Niger Republic following the recent coup in the neighbouring country.
In an interview with Arise News, Senator Aliero highlighted the significant hardships faced by northern Nigerians due to the border closure initiated in August after the overthrow of Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum.
The former governor of Kebbi state said the closure has affected border communities and traders, leading to economic challenges.
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Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno states in northern Nigeria share a 1,608 kilometres border with Dosso, Tahou, Maradi, Zinder and Diffa regions of Niger.
Senator Aliero, a retired Customs officer, said: “The foreign policy of any state or country should be a reflection of its domestic policy. Our domestic policy is to take care of the interests and welfare of Nigerians.
“The closure of borders has caused enormous hardship in Nigeria, not only in Kano. It has affected people in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, and even Kaduna, Yobe and Borno states.
“Legislators from these states have called on the government to open the border without any delay because it has caused a lot of economic distortions in these states. It has pushed a number of people into serious poverty; it has pushed a number of people into serious unemployment.
“It has caused serious friction between Niger and Nigeria. Niger and Nigeria have been strong allies from time immemorial, and these two countries are inseparable.”
The Peoples Democratic Party chieftain added that the closure of the border is unwarranted and unnecessary, adding that “it is causing a lot of hardship to our people.”
The border closure has been widely criticised, especially in the northern part of the country, as people in the far north see Niger Republic as a “brother country”.
In October last year, Aliyu Madaki, a member of the House of Representatives from Kano State, called for reopening the border in a motion.
In December last year, the Association of Freight Forwarding Practitioners of Nigeria said businesses in the borders recorded N13 billion weekly loss due to the closure.