Five nationals from across the West African subregion have been banned from entering the Republic of Niger according to a report by a Beninese news portal.
24heures Au Benin reported that nationals from Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Benin and Ivory Coast were affected by the measure imposed by the military junta in Niamey.
“The putschists have prohibited entry into Nigerien territory to nationals of 05 West African countries. Citizens of the countries concerned will no longer be able to cross Niger’s borders until further notice,” their report said.
Nationals of the affected nations who tried entering Niger “have been repatriated for a few days after police checks,” they added.
They quoted Beninese victims of the new order disclosing further that about 300 nationals were repatriated on Sunday, August 27, 2023 as they boarded a taxi in Gaya.
“We arrived by river. There was a cab. We embarked. We barely went 5 meters, there were police officers from Niger who were there and who were taking down all the luggage and who were searching everything and asking for our documents,” a Beninese woman told Sota FM.
Asked what was going on, the security agent told him: “The instructions are firm, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, their citizens do not pass”.
After the coup d’etat of July 26, 2023 which overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum, Benin, like other member countries of ECOWAS, imposed a border closure measure as part of sanctions against the junta.
This has led to trade disruptions especially in the case of Ghana where onion importers are crying over losses recorded as a result of border closures.
Benin shares a border with Niger as does Burkina Faso and Niger. In the case of Burkina Faso, the military junta has kept borders open with Niger even going as far as supplying them some essentials they are not getting from other neighbours.
ECOWAS has been working diplomatic lines to get the junta to cede power back to civilians even though a threat to use violence has been placed as the last option.
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