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Benin Lifts Ban on Imported Goods Transition to Niger

Benin Lifts Ban on Imported Goods Transition to Niger
Image Credit: Omar Hamdi

Following five months of sanctions against the coup-hit Niger, Benin has lifted its ban on imports passing via the Port of Cotonou and onto Niger.

You’d recall that Niger’s economy has been struggling after the coup of 26 July, when Abdourahmane Tchiani, who is the President of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland, now the military junta of Niger, ousted the President, Mohammed Bazoum. After the coup that stemmed from the failure of democracy and leadership in Niger, the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, with its Head being the President of Nigeria who came into office in a controversial election in the history of elections in the country, along with other country members in the West region placed sanctions on Niger for having executed a coup that sees to the ousting of Mohammed Bazoum.

However, Senator Ali Ndume, last week, called on Bola Tinbu for the lift of the sanctions placed on Niger. A call that has been met with resistance from a Coalition of Peace Group led by Dr. Jibrilla Gwadabe. The convener, in a statement made available to the press on Wednesday in Abuja, asserted that Senator Ndume was ill-informed going by his position in the press against the sanction of the Nigerien military junta by ECOWAS.

It is worth mentioning that Ndume urges for humanitarian provisions to meet the needs of survivors left in the IDP camps across Niger and look into the sanctions’ economic effects in neighbouring states in northern Nigeria.

Gwadabe explained that “The ECOWAS Commission has already approved the provision of resources and support to the population to address the serious humanitarian situations in the region,” noting that “It will be recalled too, that worsening humanitarian situation was exacerbated by the junta’s blockade of much needed humanitarian assistance from United Nations agencies.”

Nonetheless, Benin has considered its sanctions over Niger, which allows for the importation of goods in transition through Niger. The lift as a measure of safe passage poses a potential of relief after the five-month-old sanction by the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS. A measure of relief that the Port Autonome of De Cotonou Director General Bart Van Enoo considered was taken given the substantial improvement in the operational conditions for handling goods at the port of Cotonou.

This measure came almost a week after Benin President, Patrice Talon, called for relations to be swiftly re-established between his country and neighbouring Niger.

However, this does not mean that the ECOWAS measures are lifted, says the Commercial and Marketing Director of the Autonomous Port of Cotonou, Kristof Van den Branden.

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