Twitter user gives report on Nigeria-Niger border closure
A Twitter user has issued a report on the closure of the Nigeria-Niger border.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge Fan Acct @saratu reports:
“Ok, let’s do a thread on my time at the Nigeria-Niger border at Babban Mutum village in Katsina yesterday.
Ok, my images aren’t sending so will try when I’m back to civilization.
Anyway. Quick disclosure: this is one border, and I won’t extrapolate further than what I saw. There’s another border in Jibia, for example, but it was far from where I was. I had work there, too, but tired
One of the first things you notice in Babban Mutum: trucks everywhere. Everywhere. Loaded to the hilt with pretty much every household item you can think of.
Household items from those little plastic kettles people use to pray to buckets and plastics, to food to… everything. Just sitting there. Parked and abandoned by their drivers. My contact in the village told me these things have been stuck “there for a long while.”
We drove up to the border gate —if you can call it that. There’s two points where you can see a rope loosely tied to two blocks. One is on the Niger side, one on the Nigeria side. (I’ll post a photo when my internet lets me).
It is manned by Nigerian Customs officials though. They let me take a photo of their office. I teased them about how bored they must be because there’s absolutely nothing going on in the area now. they laughed and just said, “Everywhere is just dry.”
The closure of the border has been pretty hard on the local economy. I asked a fruit seller how business is, and he just shook his head and said, “what can we do?”
But here’s the thing: tough as it all is on their local economy, nobody I talked to is necessarily opposed to the blockade. “Before, when you pass, you just see big trailers passing with Rice. It is making people not eat our local rice.” Buhari’s messaging has been effective.
Another person said to me: “you see these trailers? Everything these people have is because of Nigeria. We are a great country Wallahi. We just don’t see it. See all these their household items. Without us they’re suffering. Now their president will do what Buhari wants.”
People I spoke to understand the blockade as leverage over Niger, smart politics, even if with what they hope is short term pain for their people.
worth noting, though, is that, for many, Niger is simply their backyard. Some people’s farms pretty much straddle both countries. My hunch is it’s easy to cross in and out of Niger with smaller quantities products. If they stop you, you just say “I’m just coming from the farm”
Lastly, one of the drivers from the trucks (I’ll share a photo in a bit) is actually from the area. He tells me he’s hopeful of a deal soon. “This na my chop. So I no go want make the border just to dey like this for long.”
I’ll post photos I took as soon as they’ll send.
Ok, let’s try and send images again. This is me at the border”.