Several trucks stranded as Nigeria shuts borders with Niger

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Trucks filled with goods going into Nigeria are currently stranded at the Jibia side of the Nigeria – Niger Republic border.

This is coming after the federal government shut down all land borders with Niger Republic following the toppling of the Mohamed Bazoum-led government by soldiers.

A reporter who was at the border on Friday counted more than 30 trucks lined on both sides of the highway from the Niger Republic axis.

There were also trucks lined up on the road from the Nigerian side, hoping to be allowed into Niger Republic.

The acting comptroller general of customs, Bashir Adeniyi, said the vehicles would not be allowed into or out of the country for now.

“We’ve trucks coming from Nigeria that can’t go to the other side (Niger Republic). A good number of them are inside Katsina…if you can turn your cameras, you’ll see what we’ve also there (stranded trucks)…”

There were several drivers and assistants sitting under a tree a few steps away from where the trucks were parked.

Stranded drivers and their assistants
Stranded drivers and their assistants

“We’re in a dicey situation. I came here before the official closure of the border but before I could get clearance, they (border officials) said they received signal from Abuja to close all borders,” Hannafi Lawal, a stranded driver at the border.

Hannafi Lawal a Nigerian truck driver stranded at the Jibia
Hannafi Lawal a Nigerian truck driver stranded at the Jibia

He said he had spent all his ‘feeding money’ as Friday was his fourth day at the border.

Another stranded driver, Ghali Bala, said he would appreciate if the two countries put an end to the issue.

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Ghali Bala stranded driver said he is thinking of his family
Ghali Bala stranded driver said he is thinking of his family

“We are not part of their politics; we’re drivers struggling for what to eat. We have all our papers because this is our route. We’re not bringing illegal goods into the country. Why do we have to suffer because of some people?” Mr Bala, who is from Zangon Daura in Katsina State, said.

He said he is in contact with his family through phone but would appreciate if he is allowed into Nigeria with his truck.

Musa Hashim, another stranded driver, echoed similar sentiments.

Musa Hashim stranded truck driver. He has full documents
Musa Hashim stranded truck driver. He has full documents

Sanctions

The Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) is sanctioning Niger Republic after the coup.

Rising from an emergency session in Abuja, ECOWAS ordered the military leaders in Niger Republic to reinstall Mr Bazoum or face military action.

The relationship between Niger and the ECOWAS is deteriorating by the day as the deadline for military action against the military junta ends in a few days.

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, who heads ECOWAS, sent a letter to the National Assembly notifying it of ECOWAS decision to use force against Niger Republic.

In the letter read by the Senate President, Godswil Akpabio, on Friday, Mr Tinubu mentioned some of the sanctions imposed on Niger Republic including closure of borders, cutting off electricity supply to Niger, preventing flights into Niger Republic, blockage of goods into the country, among others.

The permanent secretary at the ministry of defence, Adamu Lamuwa, said the use of force would be the last option.

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