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Falana asks FG to reopen borders immediately


Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has urged the federal government to urgently dialogue with Nigeria’s neighbouring countries to jointly fight the menace of smuggling which necessitated the closure of Nigeria’s borders.

Delivering a paper at the annual conference of the ECOWAS court of justice in Accra, Ghana, the lawyer said the border closure is inconsistent with the letter and spirit of ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons, residence and establishment and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

He described the International Monetary Fund’s support for the development as a deliberate design to weaken ECOWAS regional integration agenda.

He said, “The borders should be reopened without any further delay as it cannot be sustained for too long without serious repercussions for the Nigerian economy.

“The neighbouring countries may retaliate by imposing a ban on goods being exported from Nigeria by air. They may also close down Nigerian banks and other businesses operating in other member states of the ECOWAS.

“Instead of resorting to the unilateral closure of borders the federal government should drag the Republics of Benin and Niger to the Court of Justice of the ECOWAS for breaching the ECOWAS Protocol by allegedly encouraging the smuggling of petrol, rice and other products. In the alternative, smuggling should be addressed like terrorism which is being jointly combated by Nigeria and her neighbours.”

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