Niger Reopens Border With Nigeria

Niger Republic has reopened its border with Nigeria in the regions of Diffa, Tahoua, Maradi, and Dosso.

Naija News reports that the land border between the two countries was closed as a result of the coup d’état on July 26 and the subsequent sanctions by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The Nigerien Ministry of Interior was said to have issued instructions to the governors of these border regions on Thursday, to allow the reopening at exactly 12:00 midnight through a radio message broadcast on social networks.

Additionally, the ministry has mandated the governors to enhance controls and security measures along the 1,500-kilometre stretch of the land boundary.

While Nigeria had already opened its border weeks ago after the lifting of ECOWAS sanctions, Niger had not reciprocated the action until now.

However, the border with Benin, a country rich in uranium, remains closed on the Niger side despite Beninese authorities promptly implementing the ECOWAS directive.

The transitional authorities in Niger had previously cited security concerns as the reason for not reopening the border with their southern neighbours.

Meanwhile, the Australian Government has declared its intent to implement stricter visa regulations for Nigerian students and other international applicants due to a surge in migration numbers.

According to Reuters, starting this Saturday, there will be stricter English language requirements for student and graduate visas. Additionally, the government will gain authority to suspend education providers from enrolling international students if they repeatedly violate regulations.

In a statement, Home Affairs Minister, Clare O’Neil said, “The actions this weekend will continue to drive migration levels down while delivering on our commitments in the migration strategy to fix the broken system we inherited.”

The report said that a new “genuine student test” will be introduced to better target international students who come to Australia mainly for work purposes, alongside increased use of “no further stay” conditions on visitor visas.

This development stems from a range of actions taken last year to reverse COVID-era concessions introduced by the former government, including the removal of unrestricted working hours for international students.

At that time, the government announced plans to implement stricter rules for students, potentially reducing migrant intake by half within two years.

In 2022, Australia increased its yearly migration figures to aid businesses in hiring employees to address shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which enforced strict border regulations and barred foreign students and workers for almost two years.

However, the sudden surge of foreign workers and students has further tightened an already constricted rental market.

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