By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Benin Republic says it has lifted restrictions on imported goods transiting to Niger through its port of Cotonou.
This was made known on Wednesday by the port’s director general, Bart Jozef Johan Van Eenoo.
The sanction was imposed five months ago arising from the military coup that ousted President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum.
The West African regional bloc ECOWAS imposed sanctions on Niger following a July 26 military coup which truncated the Bazoum-led democratically elected government.
The measures have led to the closure of the border with Benin, which has seen a fall in revenues after the transport of goods to Niger via its ports was stopped.
“The measure relating to the suspension of imported goods destined for Niger at the port of Cotonou has been lifted,” the port’s director general Eenoo said.
The measure was taken “in view of the substantial improvement in the operational conditions for handling goods at the port of Cotonou, in particular the reduction in the rate of congestion,” he added.
The move comes almost a week after Benin President Patrice Talon called for restoration of diplomatic relations between his country and the neighbouring Niger.
Both countries are also concerned about a giant oil pipeline that will allow Niger to sell its crude on the international market for the first time through the Benin port of Seme.