The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is determined to find solutions to the ongoing border closure by Nigeria.

ECOWAS’ fifteen member countries met on Saturday in Ouagadougou to find what they described as “realistic solutions in the short term”.

“The closure of Nigeria’s land borders to goods is very worrying because it affects the very foundations of our community, namely the free movement of people and goods,” said Nigerien Lieutenant General Salou Djibo.

“This meeting must propose realistic and applicable solutions in the short term,” he said at the opening of the meeting which brings together ECOWAS foreign affairs and trade ministers.

“The unilateral closure of borders goes against all the trade and free movement treaties signed by Nigeria within the framework of the Economic Community of West African States,” he said.

Nigeria unexpectedly closed its land borders in August 2019 in a measure targeted at ending  smuggling, particularly of imported  rice and poultry products through the Republic of Benin.

“These are difficult times for our community. There is danger in because our gains are undermined by the closure of land borders to goods between Niger, Nigeria and Benin for six months now, which has a negative impact on the volume of inter-community trade for the years 2019 and 2020,” said  Chairman of the ECOWAS Commission, Cote d ‘Ivoire’s Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.

“This closure has profound repercussions on trade, economic operators, not forgetting consumers who today have doubts about our community,” he added. .