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    Thursday, September 7, 2023

    Niger: Traders Lament 3,000 Trapped Trucks

    Transborder traders are concerned about over 3,000 trucks carrying agricultural and general goods that are stuck at the borders of the Niger Republic due to the military coup.

    The traders also said that 250 trucks carrying different perishable goods, including onions, pineapples, and tomatoes worth N2bn have also been trapped.

    The Head of Policy and Research of the Trans-border Traders Association, Salami Nasiru, disclosed this in a telephone conversation with the PUNCH recently.

    He, however, failed to reveal the worth of the trapped cargoes.

    According to Nasiru, the goods were destined for Nigeria and Niger Republic as both countries are among the largest producers of onions in West Africa.

     “There are three categories of challenges people are facing. We have perishable products and when we talk about perishable products, we are talking of millions. Most of the perishable products like onions were leaving West Africa, where Nigeria and Niger Republic are the largest producers of onions. As of today, most of the people who are owners of onions lost more than N2bn worth of onions, pineapples, and tomatoes since the borders were closer. It is not just Nigeria alone but most West African countries.”

     “But we have other general goods and those can’t be less than 2,500 trucks that are trapped so far. In the area of perishable products, it cannot be more than 250 trucks. But when you are talking about other agricultural and general products, it should be up to 3,000 trucks that are trapped. There are trucks trapped between Benin and Niger border, between Benin and Togo, and between Nigeria and Niger borders. The N2bn worth of goods that have so far been destroyed are onion, pineapple, and tomatoes. These are goods that have left Niger Republic and Nigeria to be supplied to Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Benin, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire,” he explained.

    Nasiru added that pharmaceuticals and general goods traders had also lost a lot of money to the border closure.

     “We have those who have pharmaceutical products and have lost a lot of money. I cannot tell you the amount. I can only tell you the number of my members who are the perishable product owners,” he noted.

    According to him, traders are having the worst challenge in the borders between Nigeria and Niger Republic and Benin Republic and Niger Republic.

    The transborder trader accused ECOWAS of violating international law by blocking food, perishable products, and pharmaceutical products from entering into the Niger Republic.

    “The Niger Republic is a landlocked country and international law states that you cannot stop food, perishable products, and pharmaceutical products from coming in because they are landlocked countries. ECOWAS is violating international law. Forget about the coup issue. Some of the onions that have been wasted were coming from Nigeria while others were coming from the Niger Republic,” he asserted.

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