Nigeria Restores Electricity Supply to Niger: A Diplomatic Move Amidst Political Tensions

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The Federal Government, on Wednesday, reinstated electricity supply to the Republic of Niger, following President Bola Tinubu’s directive to reopen Nigeria’s land and air borders with the neighboring country.

As reported by The PUNCH on August 3, 2023, the power supply from Nigeria to Niger was halted as part of sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against Niger. These sanctions were initiated following a coup in July 2023 that ousted Niger’s President-elect, Mohamed Bazoum, leading to his arrest by the Niger Presidential Guard on July 26, 2023.

ECOWAS leaders, led by Tinubu, demanded the restoration of constitutional order in Niger and deemed Bazoum’s arrest and detention unlawful. Consequently, ECOWAS imposed sanctions, including the suspension of financial transactions and the freezing of all service transactions, including energy transactions, with Niger.

Despite the sanctions, the Niger junta refused to release Bazoum or restore constitutional democracy, instead forming a new regional body with Mali and Guinea, both of which are also led by military regimes.

However, on February 24, ECOWAS lifted the sanctions based on humanitarian considerations, including the Lenten season and Ramadan, while maintaining political and targeted sanctions. Subsequently, Tinubu directed the reopening of Nigeria’s borders with Niger and the lifting of other sanctions against the country.

This directive came shortly after the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government lifted economic and travel sanctions on Niger, Mali, and Guinea. As confirmed by the Special Adviser to the Minister of Power, electricity has been restored to Niger following the President’s directive.

Nigeria exports electricity to neighboring countries under various Transaction Service Agreements, including to Benin and Niger. In 2022 alone, Nigeria exported approximately N23.13 billion worth of electricity to these countries.

Stakeholders in the power sector welcomed the restoration of electricity to Niger, acknowledging its importance in earning foreign exchange for Nigeria. Additionally, the Nigeria Customs Service confirmed readiness to implement the directive to reopen borders with Niger, signalling an immediate effect of the government’s decision.

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