The Nigerian federal government on Thursday held a meeting with delegations from Republic of Benin and Niger in Abuja, where modalities for the re-opening of the Nigerian land borders were discussed.
The land borders were closed in August following criminal activities at the nation’s international boundaries with Benin and Niger.
The parley which held under the auspices of the Tripartite Anti-smuggling Ministerial Committee at the ECOWAS Commission Secretariat, Asokoro, agreed to establish a joint border patrol team comprising the police, Customs and immigration of the three countries.
Representing Nigeria at the meeting were the Godfrey Onyeama, ministers of foreign afffairs; Zainab Ahmed (finance, budget and national planning), Rauf Aregbesola (Interior), Lai Mohammed (Information), Zubairu Dauda (State, MFA) and Hajia Mariam Katagum (Minister of State, Trade and Industry).
On the Beninoise delegation were the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Mr Aurelien Agbenonci, Mr Romuald Wadagni (Economy and Finance) and Mrs Shadiya Assouma (Industry and Commerce), while the Nigerien team had the Ministers of Interior, Mr Mohamed Bazoum, Mr Sadou Seydou (Trade and Private Sector) Lamido Goga (African Integration and Nigerien abroad) and Mr Ahmat Jidoud (Budget).
The meeting was also attended by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Mr Tel Konzi.
Reading the communiqué at the end of the meeting, Onyeama, who headed the Nigerian delegation, stated that the meeting also agreed on the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation committee of the three countries.
The mandate of the committee, he said, was to ensure actions that would facilitate and enhance the suppression of smuggled goods and other related matters.
Onyeama said, “We have agreed to put in place certain mechanisms that would enable us to open the borders; there was a consensus on that.
“We have agreed to set up a joint border patrol; so the three countries would send a list of officers that would be part of the joint border patrol team and they are going to be meeting on the 25th and 26th of this month