Nigeria reconvenes Tripartite meeting over smuggling, border security

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The Federal Government on Thursday convened a meeting of the Tripartite Anti-smuggling Committee in Abuja with a view to resolving the irregularities and smuggling activities that led Nigeria to close its land borders partially.

Members of the committee are Nigeria, the Republic of Niger and the Republic of Benin.

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Geoffrey Onyeama said that the meeting was convened on the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, “who wants the issues that led to the partial border closure resolved quickly”.

According to Onyeama, the meeting is to serve as a forum for Nigeria, Benin, and Niger to rub minds and agree on concrete modalities and enforce sustainable measures to curb smuggling activities and other crimes along Nigeria’s borders.

He said that in spite of the ban, imported rice continued to flood the Nigerian market.

He added that although Nigeria had signed various memoranda of understanding with its neighbors, implementing such agreements had been difficult and challenging.

Also speaking, Mr Aurelien Agbenonci, Benin Republic’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation pledged the commitment of his home government to upholding the terms of the agreements reached at the meeting.

In his remarks, Mr Mohammed Bazoum, Senior Minister of Interior, Niger Republic praised Nigeria for convening the meeting which he said would further strengthen regional integration.

According to him, smuggling activities across the borders of the three countries have had a negative impact on his country.