Freight traffic resumes from Nigeria to Niger

Freight traffic from Nigeria to Niger returned to normal after a week-long border blockage that stopped imports including food entering the impoverished, land-locked West African state.
“Nigerian customs officials are now allowing the movement of goods between our two countries,” Nigerien road haulage operator Issoufou Beidi told Reuters by telephone.
Nigeria denied that its customs officials were behind the blockage, for which no official explanation was given. Traffic heading north to Niger was paralysed during most of last week, but vehicles heading south into Nigeria were unaffected.
Niger was suspended last month from the ECOWAS grouping of West African states for democratic failings, but its neighbours stopped short of measures such as trade embargoes.
President Mamadou Tandja in August defied domestic and international condemnation to extend his term in office by a further three years. The European Union has cut off development aid of nearly half a billion Euros to Niger.
In a move which appeared aimed at winning popular support, Tandja last Thursday cut the remuneration of parliamentarians by more than a half to 650 000 CFA a ($1 475) month, a move that follows a long row over deputies’ allowances.