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ECOWAS tired of Nigeria border closure, set up intervention committee

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has set up a committee to intervene in the Nigerian partial border closure. It is a matter of concern to other countries in the sub region.

The decision to set up the committee was agreed Sunday night in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at an extraordinary session of ECOWAS leaders convened on the margins of the 33rd AU Summit to discuss the issue and other pressing regional matters.

Nigeria, in mid-October, 2019, shut its land borders to importation of goods. Authorities later explained that the closure was partial and targeted at strengthening the economy and guard against proliferation of dangerous substances like drugs and illegal arms.

However, at the ongoing 33rd African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, authorities of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, at a meeting on the sidelines of the summit met and set up mechanisms to intervene.

According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the committee set up by the ECOWAS is headed by President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso.

According to the statement, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, told journalists after the three-hour closed door session that the meeting attended by President Buhari and chaired by the ECOWAS Chairman, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic, also discussed West Africa′s new single currency, the Eco, and the situation in Guinea Bissau after the presidential election.

On border closure, Onyeama said ‘‘the President of Burkina Faso is charged with undertaking a full study of the situation, make a report and then we take it from there.’’

Asked when the report will be presented to ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, the Nigerian Minister replied: ‘‘As soon as possible, there are no timelines. But he is supposed to start very quickly, study the situation from all the affected countries and present his report.’’

On the Eco currency, the Foreign Minister said: ‘‘Nothing has changed in respect of Nigeria’s position’’.

He added that Nigeria’s position was that the convergence criteria have not been met by majority of the countries, therefore there has to be an extension of time on the take-off of the single currency.

On Guinea Bissau, the Minister said ECOWAS leaders recognized that there was an appeal of the presidential election result and they are waiting for the Supreme Court decision on the matter.

The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government has constituted a committee, headed by President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso, to study and make a full report on Nigeria’s land border closure with her neighbours.

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