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THE POLITICAL AND LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF NIGERIA LAND BORDER CLOSURE AND BIG BROTHER ROLE IN AFRICA
Nigeria has for long enjoyed good diplomatic, economic, political, security and social relationship with her immediate neighbouring countries like Chad, Benin, Cameroon and Niger and has always maintained a big brother status over its neighbours. Owing to insecurity, smuggling and criminal activities, the Nigerian government ordered the immediate closure of her land borders with the neighbouring countries on August 19, 2019, disallowing movement of in and out of goods and services via the land borders. The closure seemed to be straining Nigeria’s relations with her neighbours and has been met with strong oppositions by the neighbours casting a shadow over the newly enacted ECOWAS free trade agreement, which seeks to scrap restrictions on trade among African Countries. The paper aimed to appraise diplomacy and diplomatic relationship of Nigeria with her closed countries. It gave reasons for the emergence of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and World Trade Organisation (WTO). The paper adopts a doctrinal research methodology and employed the use of newspapers, monographs, unpublished works, statutes, treaties, conventions, textbooks, journals, articles and internet among others were consulted in arriving at its target. The paper exposed and enumerated the merits and demerits of the Nigeria land border closure with her neighbouring countries. It also analysed the short and long-term implications of the land border closure on Nigeria’s relations with her neighbours. It recommends that Nigeria should strengthen her internal institutions, social fabrics and, and stabilize her borders, to make Nigeria’s economy better for her citizens and the country at large. There should be a well-organized alignment and coordination at a regional level (i.e. at the West African sub-regional level); to control a border from only one side is virtually impossible. Therefore, Nigeria’s diplomatic relations and foreign policy towards her immediate neighbours needs to be geared towards ensuring the boarders are closely policed.
Keywords: ‘Diplomacy’, ‘Diplomatic Relations’, ‘Conventions’ Immediate’ ‘Foreign Policy’.