Border closure: Okudzeto calls for ECOWAS meeting to consider Nigeria’s conduct
Ghana’s Ranking Member for Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has called on the Chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS), Mahamadou Issoufou to convene an emergency meeting of member states vis-à-vis Nigeria’s decision to close its border until 2020.
Nigeria on Sunday, 3 November 2019 announced it will keep its land borders closed to trade until at least 31 January 2020.
Nigeria closed its borders in August to tackle smuggling of rice and other goods. The decision has affected Ghanaian traders who import goods from Benin and Nigeria into the country.
Despite several pleas for Nigeria to open the border, the West African giant has remained adamant.
Reacting to the development in a Facebook post, Mr Ablakwa who is also the Member of Parliament for North Tongu said, “News that President Buhari is extending the Nigeria-Benin land border closure to January 31st, 2020 is an indication that the matters in issue are indeed moving from bad to worse.
“West Africa cannot continue to make mockery of ECOWAS Protocols and begin to put a dampener on the legitimate hopes of the much-vaunted African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) expected to take off with trading under the AfCFTA framework by July 2020.
“It is time for Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou who is the Chairman of ECOWAS to show bold leadership by urgently convening an emergency ECOWAS meeting of Heads of State to critically consider Nigeria’s conduct and the way forward for genuine Pan-African integration. I observe anecdotally that Niger is also directly affected as the Nigeria-Niger land border remains closed, just like his other counterpart at the Nigeria-Cameroon end.
“Timely leadership is required at this crucial hour to rekindle confidence in the integration agenda amongst the vast majority of Africans who have become increasingly disillusioned over the years due to the narrow, inward looking and short-term detrimental interest of some African leaders.
“Instead of pursuing a “NAIJAXIT” policy anchored on discredited protectionism, Nigeria may want to reflect on what Africa can collectively achieve with a continental population in excess of 1.3 billion as compared to the solo efforts of a 200 million Nigerian population. As Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah warned: “Africa Must Unite.
“At this rate, we are far from the promised land. Africa can only WIN if we all UNITE!”