Since September 2019, Nigeria closed its land borders to neighbouring countries within and outside the ECOWAS region, citing security and economic reasons. This closure has now been extended till January 2020. Considering this, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Nigeria hosted a dialogue themed: "Border Closure: People Versus Policy".
The dialogue gathered foreign policy analysts, economists, international relations and trade experts and government officials (the customs and security agencies) to critically analyse the country’s border closure topic. The aim was to allow members of the audience to gain better understanding on the issue of border closure.
One of the panellists and the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Customs, Mr Joseph Attah, argued that neighbouring countries must adhere to non-modification to the packaging of goods imported in Nigeria, respect for the rule of origin of imported goods and dismantling of warehouses built along the borderline for conditions to improve.
Other panellists believed that Nigeria should develop its production capacity and improve local content to be able to compete. Economist also added their voice to the debate drawing attention to the benefits and losses of the closure and challenging the timing of the closure bearing in mind that Nigeria just signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA). Members of the audience highlighted the need for effective communication when crucial policy decisions by government are taken.