Nigerians endure hardships along the border with Niger due to the impact of economic sanctions | A visual portrayal

Under the scorching midday sun in northern Nigeria, three sisters are making the journey to a wedding in Niger, with their babies strapped to their backs. The 1,600km (1,000-mile) border between the two countries has been officially closed since August last year, following a military coup in Niger. This closure has had a severe impact on both sides of the border.

In Nigeria, the closure has exacerbated the economic crisis and heightened violent crime, particularly affecting vulnerable communities. Despite the hardship, many still find ways to cross the border, as authorities often turn a blind eye to pedestrians and motorists find alternative routes to avoid checkpoints.

Traders have been hit hard by the closure, as Nigeria used to be a major trading partner for Niger. The cost of food has skyrocketed, making it difficult for people to afford basic necessities. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s economic reforms have further compounded the crisis, leading to a surge in inflation rates.

The closure has also exacerbated insecurity in the region, with tensions between herders and farmers escalating into deadly conflicts involving criminal gangs. Bandits terrorize the population, stealing livestock and forcing farmers off their land. Some Nigerians have turned to banditry as a means of survival, further worsening the situation.

In addition to bandits, locals must also deal with corruption among government security agencies at checkpoints along the road. Officials often demand bribes from road users, adding to the challenges faced by those trying to navigate the economic fallout of the border closure. Overall, the closure has had far-reaching effects on the communities on both sides of the border.

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