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Nigeria’s vital Seme land border with Benin reopened in 2020 not 2023 as claimed online

IN SHORT: The sudden closure of land borders in 2019 hurt Nigeria’s economy. But the Seme land border in Lagos state has been open for years.

A video posted on Facebook in June 2023 in Nigeria claims that the Seme land border has reopened.

Located in Lagos state in western Nigeria, the Seme border is a vital economic doorway to neighbouring Benin.

Nigeria’s land borders were closed in August 2019 on the orders of former president Muhammadu Buhari.

Officials said the border closure was aimed at boosting local food production and curbing the smuggling of arms and illegal drugs into Nigeria from neighbouring countries.

The video shows a man in what appears to be a security uniform opening a gate. The post reads: “Seme—Nigeria Border Opened✅✅I see Nigeria becoming a drug free country soon. Don't ask me how.”

Buhari left office in May. 

We found the same claim on Facebook here, here and here

Did the government order the reopening of the Seme border in 2023? We checked.


Border has been open since 2020

The video in the Facebook post was debunked by the Nigeria Customs Service on 6 June 2023. It said the video showed the reopening of the Idiroko border, located in the southwestern state of Ogun, in 2022.

The Idiroko sign at the beginning of the video indicates that it was not taken at the Seme border.

Nigerian media reported that Buhari ordered the reopening of the Seme border and three others in 2020, including Illela in Sokoto state, Maigatari in Jigawa state and Mfum in Cross River state.

Buhari later ordered the reopening of four more borders in April 2022.

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