Nigeria-Benin Border Closure: Implications for Economic Development in Nigeria
Nigeria remains the major international market for foreign earnings for many countries in the word. The Republic of Benin in the sub-Sahara Africa is majorly dependent on Nigeria for the survival of her international trade. This study investigates the Nigeria-Benin border closure and its implications on Nigerian economic development. Secondary data were used for the research, and content analysis was the instrument used in analysis of the data generated from the study. Smuggling was confirmed to occur on the Nigeria-Benin border and was perpetrated by residents of both countries. Though legal commercial activities still take place on the same border. Illegal activities on the Nigeria-Benin border include cross-border crimes like banditry and kidnapping as well as trafficking in human beings, contraband goods, illegal arms and ammunition, illicit drugs, and diverted petroleum products. All these transactions constitute serious threat to Nigeria’s national security and affects it economy. Therefore, the illegal activities on the border led to its closure by the Nigerian federal government in August 2019. The effects of the border closure on Nigerian socio-economic includes decrease in all smuggling activities and other cross-border crimes. There were increase in domestic production and patronage: 60% increase in rice consumption, 30% decrease in domestic fuel consumption, 56% increase in daily income generation of Nigeria Customs Service, and seizure of contraband goods worth over US$6.4billion within 71 days of the border closure. The downside effects of the border closure include restricted movements of residents of border towns in Nigeria, price increase in consumer goods across Nigeria, and increase in national inflation from 11.22% to 11.61%. As a result of the implications of Nigeria-Benin border closure on Nigerian economy, recommendations on improvement of Nigeria-Benin border relations include change in economic policy by Benin, improvement in Nigeria’s infrastructure, improvement in the Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts, and modernisation of the Nigeria Custom Service to be effective and proactive.