24 Days After FG’s Directive, Customs Reopens Nigeria-Niger Border


Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto

About 24 days after the federal government announced the immediate reopening of four of the land borders shut 15 months ago, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) yesterday officially reopened Illela-Niger border.

With the official reopening of the border, a large number of stakeholders and residents of Illela, Sokoto State and Niger Republic expressed joy at the development

At the official reopening, the Area Comptroller, Sokoto and Zamfara Zone, Mr. Abdulhamid Ma’aji said the economic activities would return to Illeila and its environs.

He urged the stakeholders “to give maximum support to Nigerian Customs and other security agencies so as to help discharge their responsibilities.”

Now that this border is reopened for operation, the area commander pleaded with all residents of both Illeila and Kwanni to cooperate with the customs service.

He said “I want to assure everyone that the Nigerian Customs and its sister agencies are ready to be professional in discharging their duties. All items that are tagged as contraband still remain banned.”

The area commander listed the contraband items to include foreign rice, palm oil, drugs among others, which according to him, would still remain banned.

Ma’aji warned that the items listed above would not be allowed to enter the country from this land border, thereby appealing to all traders to cooperate with the service.

Also, a Technical Supervisor of the Customs, Sokoto and Zamfara Zone, Mr. Babagana Shettima said the command would collaborate with both the customs agents and traders in making things work amicably.

He urged all the traders “to always make use of the opportunity provided through the ICT to obtain relevant papers relating to their goods.”

Speaking on the development, an entrepreneur in Sokoto, Alhaji Oladimeji Olotu said the decision of the federal government to reopen the land border would boost trans border trade between Nigeria and Niger Republic.

He further disclosed that many freight forwarders had lost their means of livelihood as a result of the closure because their goods were stuck on both sides of the border.

Also, the Chairman of traders association in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma commended the government for the reopening of the land borders in the state.

He said traders in the state would continue to cooperate and collaborate with the security agencies in order to carry out their legitimate business.

He, also, added that all traders in the state would avoid bringing in goods that were not allowed into the country.

He said with the reopening of the border, residents of the communities who have been out of jobs would benefit while governments at all levels would benefit from improved revenue for the country.