Nigerien Leaders Allege France of Releasing Terrorists Violation of Airspace1
NIAMEY, NIGER - JULY 28: Abdourahmane Tchiani and other army commanders held a meeting in the capital, Niamey, Niger on July 28, 2023. Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, the head of Nigerâs presidential guard, appeared on national television on Friday and declared himself the new leader of the country after a coup. (Photo by Balima Boureima/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Coup Sanctions Threatens Cross-Border Trade of $180 Million Between Nigeria and Niger Republic

Since the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) put sanctions on Niger, exports and transit goods worth $180 million between Nigeria and its West African neighbor, the Republic of Niger, are on the verge of going down.

After President Mohamed Bazoum’s government was overthrown and Abdrahmane Tchiani was named the new president, ECOWAS put sanctions on the Niger Republic.

As part of the sanctions against that country, the regional body closed the border between the Niger Republic and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). Security forces are already making sure that the directive is strictly followed by closing the borders between Nigeria and the Niger Republic in the seven northern states of Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno.

Since the borders are closed, both goods bound for the Niger Republic and cargo bound for Nigeria are stuck at the border between the two countries.

Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, who is the acting comptroller general of Customs, also told Service officers to stop all transit cargoes going to the Niger Republic through all land crossings and seaports in the country.

He said that after the Nigerian and Nigerien borders were closed, transit goods could be smuggled through other land border posts in the country.

He said that all shipments going to the Niger Republic through Idiroko and the other land routes must be stopped.

He said, “We’re keeping an eye on what’s going on in the Niger Republic, and I can promise you that the ECOWAS heads of state’s order is being followed 100% of the time. When that’s the case, smugglers will look for gaps in other borders and may want to use other routes.” Stop all things in transit that are going to the Niger Republic.”

HOW TO LEAD Sunday’s research showed that Niger Republic-bound transit cargo no longer goes through Nigerian seaports.

Our reporter went to container ports this week to find out if Nigeria has ever handled transit cargo for the landlocked West African country. He found that Nigeria has never done so.

Maritime experts, on the other hand, said that the Niger Republic had taken Nigeria off the list of transit countries.

But at APM Terminals in Apapa, which is the largest port operator, there is no cargo going to the Niger Republic.

A source who asked not to be named said that cargoes for the Niger Republic are not in the port. However, they could come and load the cargo onto trucks at different warehouses and drive them to the West African country.

Also, the Port and Cargo terminal on Tin Can Island said that they have never gotten cargo going for the Niger Republic.

The newly opened Lekki port also said that cargo going to the Niger Republic was not among the transfer cargo that came to the port in July.

According to the OECD website, Nigeria sent $180 million to the Niger Republic in 2021. Nigeria sent most of its goods to Niger in the form of electricity ($54,2 million), rolled tobacco ($45,1 million), and cement ($38,3 million).

Nigeria’s exports to Niger have grown at an annualized rate of 6.05 percent over the last 26 years, going from $39 million in 1995 to $180 million in 2021.

Also, Nigeria’s trade through Niger was worth $1.3 billion in 2020, and trucks from Nigeria made up 40% of the 104,179 trucks that traveled along the trans-Saharan road corridor every day, according to figures from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

The trans-Saharan road route goes through Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno, which are all northern Nigerian states. This trade path is very important for Nigeria because it connects the country to its landlocked Sahel neighbors.

But the Zamfara/Sokoto command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said that in the last six months, over 2.5 million metric tons of export goods went through the Illela border in Sokoto State and into the Niger Republic.

Leadership has found that cement, tobacco, and coal are the most common goods that pass through the corridor and that each truck generally carries 1000 metric tons.

Barr Hassan Bello, the former executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), told Leadership on Sunday that 30 percent of transit goods from the Niger Republic go through Nigeria to get to the Niger Republic.

He says that the leadership problem in the landlocked country will make it harder for Nigerians to use its ports and trade corridors to get their goods where they need to go.

Bello also said that Nigeria is closer to the Niger Republic than other African countries. He said that Nigerien shippers pay more if they send their goods through a neighboring country other than Nigeria.

He said, “It’s been our hope to get most of the cargo from the Niger Republic, and the shippers from the Niger Republic have started to believe that Nigeria can make the process go smoothly.” Niger sends its goods to Cote d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, and a few other nearby ports, which doesn’t make economic sense because Niger Republic and Nigeria are so close together and get along well.

“In fact, the Kano-Maradi train line and the Dala inland dry port were both attempts by Nigeria to get transit cargoes. The Customs are our partners because they have made some trade facilitation concessions so that the Niger Republic will transport cargoes. But the bad thing may briefly throw that plan off. I think there will be peace and normal relationships in the long run. This is why war hurts trade between countries.”

He said about the tonnage, “I know it’s a lot and we should have gotten it all, but maybe 30 percent of transit cargoes move from Nigeria to the Niger Republic right now.”

Also talking, Lucky Amiwero, president of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), said that closing the border has security effects that he can’t talk about.

“Nigeria has been taken off the list of transit countries for a while now. We have no idea if that journey has even begun. Negotiating transit isn’t easy because our countries are still limited by things that keep them from being able to travel to other countries. “I’m not sure if those problems have been fixed,” he said.

He said it was a matter of money because Nigeria was taken off the list of transit countries. He also said that asking for transit status would be a good way to make money.

“In a real sense, if it is done, it will change Nigeria’s role as a passing country.  The transit module hasn’t been put into use in the country yet. Ghana’s journey is run by satellites, but Nigeria’s is still done by hand. Nigeria is behind Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. “Making noise about wanting to be a transit hub isn’t enough,” he said.