June 8 2023
The viral video dates back to April 2022. Not all of Nigeria's borders have reopened.
Social media users have widely shared a 21-second video showing government officials performing a jubilant and symbolic reopening of the Idiroko border in Nigeria, with many people claiming that Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has recently ordered the immediate opening of all Nigerian borders. One tweet, which has attracted 109,000 views and 168 retweets, shared the video with the caption, “President Tinubu orders immediate Opening of all Nigeria borders. Thank You, Your Excellency.”
This video was shared in the context of Benin City traders' pleas to President Tinubu, who assumed office on May 29, 2023, urging him to reopen the country's borders. Independent TV and Radio reports that the traders are pleading amid escalating living costs in Nigeria. The traders believe that reopening the borders would facilitate the import of essential food items, thus alleviating the financial burden on the population.
The Nigerian federal government ordered the closure of land borders in 2019 to combat smuggling. However, in 2021, it reopened certain border points, such as Seme in the southwest, Ilela and Maitagari in the northwest, and Mfun in the south. Despite some borders reopening, the government has maintained a ban on importing rice, poultry, and other products.
It was not possible to locate the video through a reverse key search of keyframes, due to the poor quality. However, the comments revealed that several people had highlighted the video could be from 2022, depicting the opening of the border gates at Idiroko. This enabled us to research and confirm this information, leading us to multiple reports from April 2022 on Nigeria's border reopenings.
One such report, published by Naija News on April 25, 2022, explains that the Federal Government issued a circular through the NCS on April 22, 2022, directing the immediate reopening of closed border posts in Idiroko (Ogun), Jibiya (Katsina State), Kamba (Kebbi), and Ikom (Cross River). Another Nigerian paper, The Cable, emphasized in their article on April 26, 2022, that this reopening would benefit Nigeria, as it would strengthen trade partnerships with other African nations.
Al Jazeera reports that the government initially closed the borders in August 2019, as declared by former President Muhammadu Buhari, to combat widespread smuggling across Nigeria's porous frontiers.
A recent article by Daily Report Nigeria, published on June 6, 2023, featured a press briefing where the Controller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun 1 Area Command, Bamidele Makinde, clarified that the Idiroko border was reopened following the president's approval in 2022. However, other borders closed in August 2019 have not yet been opened except the eight approved in December 2020 and April 2022 by the previous administration.
The viral video is an old video from April 2022, showing the Nigerian Customs Service reopening the Idiroko border. It does not depict all borders opening in 2023. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.