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Nigeria President Makes U-Turn Opens Land, Air Borders With Niger Republic, Lift Sanctions

President Bola Tinubu has directed the opening of Nigeria’s land and air borders with the Republic of Niger.

The president has also directed the lifting of other sanctions against the country “with immediate effect”.

In a statement, Ajuri Ngelale, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, said “this directive is in compliance with the decisions of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government at its extraordinary summit on February 24, 2024, in Abuja”.

Nigeria had shuttered its borders against the landlocked West African nation in the wake of the coup that sacked Mohamed Bazoum as democratically elected president.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with Tinubu as its chairman, had also reeled out a raft of sanctions against the Niger Republic junta.

“ECOWAS leaders had agreed to lift economic sanctions against the Republic of Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea,” the statement from Ngelale reads.

“The President has directed that the following sanctions imposed on the Republic of Niger be lifted immediately:

“(1) Closure of land and air borders between Nigeria and Niger Republic, as well as ECOWAS no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger Republic.

“(2) Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between Nigeria and Niger, as well as freeze of all service transactions, including utility services and electricity to Niger Republic.

“(3) Freeze of assets of the Republic of Niger in ECOWAS Central Banks and freeze of assets of the Republic of Niger, state enterprises, and parastatals in commercial banks.

“(4) Suspension of Niger from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions, particularly EBID and BOAD.

“(5) Travel bans on government officials and their family members.

“President Tinubu has also approved the lifting of financial and economic sanctions against the Republic of Guinea.”

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