Nigeria: President Extends Border Closure to Jan 31, Punch Says

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the closure of Nigeria’s border with neighboring countries to Jan. 31, Lagos-based Punch newspaper reported.

Land borders with countries including Benin and Niger have been partially closed since Aug. 20 in a move meant to curb the smuggling of large quantities of rice and other commodities.

The extension is necessary to achieve the government’s strategic objectives, the newspaper reported, citing customs official Victor Dimka. The operation has resulted in security and economic benefits, it added.

The blockade has had a ripple effect across West Africa, with factories and traders struggling to import key raw materials and having to use alternative routes for their exports, according to the Lagos Chamber of Commerce.