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Border Closure: Nigerian economy rigged in favour of Dangote, other connected businessmen: Atedo Peterside

The Stanbic IBTC founder reacts to reports that President Buhari has granted a special land border waiver to Dangote Group.

• November 10, 2020
Nigerian businessman and founder of Stanbic IBTC Atedo Peterside. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter handle of Mr Atedo]
Nigerian businessman and founder of Stanbic IBTC Atedo Peterside. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter handle of Mr Atedo]

Nigerian businessman and founder of Stanbic IBTC Atedo Peterside has criticised a special land border waiver reportedly granted to Dangote Group by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it portrayed Nigeria’s economy as favouring only the well-connected.

Mr. Peterside stated that such gestures should have been evenly made to all businesses rather than only those with strong political ties to policymakers. The Buhari administration shut land borders in August 2019, and has yet to reopen them despite widespread criticism. The government said the closure was to reduce Nigeria’s reliance on foreign commodities, but critics said the policy undermined the continental free-trade agreement adopted last year.

“Allowing legitimate exporters & importers to move their goods across the border should be a no-brainer. Why refuse everybody else & allow only one company (Dangote)? This is why some of us argue that the Nigerian economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected persons,” Mr. Peterside tweeted on Tuesday morning. 

Mr. Dangote has often been criticised as enjoying more than usual benevolence from successive Nigerian governments. In 2019, Dangote called for a total ban of tomato importation while starting its own tomato processing subsidiary.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that only Dangote received the waiver to export its cement across the border to Togo and Niger, but a company spokesman told Peoples Gazette Tuesday morning that other conglomerates were also issued waivers.

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