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Ghana begs FG to reconsider Nigeria/Benin border closure policy

The Ghanaian Government, on Wednesday, appealed to the Nigerian government to reconsider its stand on border closure with neighbouring West African countries.

Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Botchwey made the appeal, in Abuja, where he had audience with his Nigerian counterpart, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, on the possibility of persuading Nigeria to take a second look at the policy.

Ms. Botchwey noted that the closure of the borders with Benin Republic has adversely impacted on Ghanaian traders.

She was accompanied by her counterpart, Minister of Trade, Allan Kyerematen and the acting High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs. Iva Denoo.

Botchwey’s visit to Abuja was a follow-up to her Tuesday’s parley with the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr. Olufemi Abikoye, in Accra.

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According to her, the situation has become so dire that it could lead to political tension in countries severely affected by the decision.

She said: “The closure of the borders has had considerable disruptions to trade in the sub-region, with grave consequential economic effects on Ghanaian traders.”

Onyeama, in his remark, pointed out that the reasons for the closure of the borders, saying that it was done to protect the nation’s economy from smugglers, traffickers and illegal migrants.

Botchwey assured that the government would exhaust all diplomatic avenues to get Nigeria to reopen its western borders for the free flow of goods from Ghana to the sub-region.

She said truckloads of goods from Ghana had been detained at the Seme Border between Benin and Nigeria for weeks, adding that returning the consignments to the seaports would be a major problem as the traders had already lost millions of cedis within the last few weeks.