More than a hundred trucks bound for Niger are blocked in Malanville, the border town between Benin and Niger, following the coup. The blockage has been going on for over a week, with Benin having closed its border with Niger in accordance with one of the decisions taken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Transporters in the border town lament they have been hard hit.
“When you’re parked like that, the (validity if the) insurance runs out every day, the technical inspection too, the papers are running out” says Ousmane Ouataro, truck driver on his way to Niger. “Let’s not even talk about the food here. How much are you going to eat in two weeks? The apprentices, you have two apprentices, they’re going to spend 1,000 CFA francs a day (about 1.52 euros, ed) on food.” Ouataro added.
Rabiou Garba, President of the Syndicat des transporteurs et des importateurs nouveaux associés du Bénin (Syntra-Inab), spoke to Bip radio on Tuesday August 8, 2023. “Many trucks have stopped at Kandi”, because the Malanville fleet has a capacity of 200 trucks” Garba said on radio. “600 trucks and on one truck, there’s more than one or even two containers loaded. So there are billions in backlogs.” he stressed.
Issiaka Bassé, a truck driver on the way to Niger also laments the situation. “We left our families to go and get something to eat to feed our families. We don’t know what’s going on. We’re stuck here. We’re going on about 16 days today. We’re asking the African population to sort out their problems, to let us through – we’ll unload our luggage, turn around and go back to our families in peace, as we should.”
The West African bloc on Thursday approved the deployment of what it called a “standby force to restore constitutional order” in Niger following an emergency summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja. Their meeting of defence chiefs scheduled for Saturday August 12 has however been suspended.