Uko E. Uwak, Victor Edem Ebong


This study was on the Nigeria border closure and ECOWAS protocol on the free movement of persons among member states: implications for sub-regional cohesion. Thus, the 2019 policy of Nigeria’s Government to close borders between its neighbours Benin Republic, Cameroon and Niger Republic was followed by the circular issued on 20th August 2019 and disseminated to all border security agents. The people living around border communities largely depend on cross-border trade for their survival, and closing the border has led to difficulty and hardship for those living around the border. On the other part, the government proclaimed that closing its border has numerous benefits and for security reasons which will ensure economic growth and development of Nigeria, whereas member states of the West African sub-region believed this action to be, an affront and counter-productive act to ECOWAS protocol on the free movement of goods and persons in the West African sub-region and for the sub-regional integration at large. Hence, the main objective of this paper was the assessment of the border closure and its implications on sub-regional cohesion. The research study made use of a secondary source of data collection and data from the secondary sources were subjected to qualitative content analysis, with the main purpose of assessing the implication of the border closure on the sub-regional integration as stipulated by the ECOWAS protocol. The Theory of Comparative Advantage as propounded by David Ricardo was adopted for the work. His notion significantly explained the theoretical exploration and analytical discussion of the need for a country to trade and relate with other countries in various ramifications with certain advantages especially when these countries are under a common economic bloc, as the case in ECOWAS. The findings showed among other things that the policy of border closure by the Nigeria government has so far been counter-productive, as other West African member states with particular reference to Ghana, have started rejecting and getting Nigerian goods out of their countries, thereby posing a serious threat to economic cohesion of the sub-region. The study recommended among others that the policy of border closure should always consider the poor people who are about 87 million in Nigeria and became subject to hardship following the closure of cross-border trade. And that such border closure was not necessary when the effort was being made to fully actualize the principles of the ECOWAS protocol as applied to all member states.


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