17 States in Nigeria That Share Land Borders With Foreign Countries

Last updated on October 9th, 2023 at 02:27 pm

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There are about 364 approved international border points in Nigeria. 71.62% of land borders in Nigeria are located in the North-East and North-West, according to Nigeria’s Former Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Lucky Irabor.

Takeaways:

  • Nigeria have about 364 international borders
  • Northeast and Northwest have 261 border points.
  • Only 124 out of 261 approved border points in NE and NW are manned, representing 47.51%
  • 137 out of about 261 borders in NE and NW are unguarded, representing 52.53% unmanned borders.
  • The countries Nigeria shares land borders with are Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Cameroon, and Benin Republic.

This article explores Nigerian states that share international border points with other countries.

With a landmass of 923,768 km², Nigeria shares land boundaries with four African countries in the South and in the Northern region. All the land borders are African in Cameroon, the Republic of Benin, the Chad Republic, and the Republic of Niger.

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The largest African country in terms of population also shares maritime borders with three African countries as Ghana, São Tomé, and Príncipe, and Equatorial Guinea.

Countries that share the highest land area with Nigeria

Of all the 11 African countries that share land boundaries with Nigeria, the Niger Republic and the Republic of Benin share the biggest landmass with Nigeria.

Niger Republic borders can be found in eight states in Nigeria, they are:

  1. Borno,
  2. Jigawa,
  3. Katsina,
  4. Kebbi,
  5. Sokoto,
  6. Kano
  7. Yobe, and
  8. Zamfara states

While the Benin Republic also shares part of its territory with seven states in Nigeria:

  1. Kebbi
  2. Kwara
  3. Lagos
  4. Niger state
  5. Ogun
  6. Oyo
  7. Sokoto

Adamawa-Cameroon Land Border

Occupying 36,917 square kilometres is Adamawa state. Its boundaries Cameroon is a well-established one after the International Court ruling a few decades ago when some parts were ceded to Nigeria and they went with the present-day Adamawa.

It’s on record that Nigeria’s former Vice President and former Presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was parts of the villages that were ceded to Nigeria.

The state is also blessed with several mountains and large river valleys.

Benue-Cameroon Land Border

Benue State shares a land border with the Nord-Ouest Province, which was claimed by both Ambazonia and the Republic of Cameroon.

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Borno-Chad, Republic of Niger, and Cameroon Border

Borno used to be the largest state in Nigeria in terms of land area before successive military governments divided it for easy administration.

Today, the state is the second largest in terms of land area after Niger State. It houses the now notorious Sambisa forest, a location unofficially known as the operation terrorist base in the Northeast areas

Having said that, Borno borders the Republic of Niger to the north, the Republic of Chad to the northeast, and Cameroon to the east which should be business opportunities for the Borno people, but terrorism would not let them enjoy the benefits.

Cross River-Cameroon Land Border

Through Ikom, there is a village that links Nigeria with Cameroon either through by trekking or through motorbike.

Today, Nigeria’s government seems to have realised the importance of cross-border trade between Nigerian buyers and sellers and their counterparts in the Republic of Cameroon, when they officially commission a long road linking the two countries.

The construction of the 1.5km began on April 28, 2017, and was completed in March 2021 which linked the Mfum/Bermenda roads link Nigeria in Etung LGA of Cross River State to Bermenda in Southern Cameroon, which gulped $35.9

“We have had a strong relationship with the Republic of Cameroon in terms of trade and business,” Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Raji Fashola said in July 2021

Jigawa-Niger Republic Border

Carved out of the present-day Kano in 1991, Jigawa is one of the states in Nigeria that shares a border with the Republic of the Niger.

Katsina-Niger Republic Border

With 24,971 square kilometres of land area, part of Katsina land spread across the border with the Republic of Niger. The state was carved out of the defunct Kaduna State on September 23, 1987.

Kano-Niger Border

Kano is connected with the Niger Republic by road. The administration of Muhammadu Buhari sealed the connection by constructing Rail to Maradi, Niger Republic.

Kebbi- Niger Republic and Benin Republic Border Points

Kebbi State has a landmass of 37,699 square kilometers which it shares with the Niger Republic and the Benin Republic. The state was ranked number two in terms of electricity in the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria by PEBEC (Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council).

It only shares boundaries with these two countries, they now have inter-cultural and ethnic linkages.

Lagos-Republic of Benin Land Border

Nigeria’s commercial city, Lagos, is the investment destination and also shares borders with the Republic of Benin to the west, through cross-border trade has been enhanced.

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Ogun-Republic of Benin Land Border

Called the gateway state because of its high concentration of industries, Ogun State is one of the states in the Southwest geopolitical zone of Nigeria.

Traders in Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, and other southwest states have used the land border between Ogun and the Republic of Benin to buy and sell goods and services.

Sokoto-Niger and Benin Republic

Home of the caliphate, Sokoto shares land borders with the Niger Republic. Not just that, Niger and Sokoto also share religious values and have similarities in cultural values.

Yobe-Niger Republic Border

Its borders with the Republic of Niger to the north, Yobe, one of the Northeastern states were created by the regime of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida on August 27, 1991

It was created out of the old Borno.

Zamfara-Niger Republic Border

Zamfara State which has large deposits of gold shares land border with the Niger Republic to the north, which traders on bike use to inter-connect in international trade.

Economic Importance of Nigeria’s Land Borders

These land borders play significant roles in Nigeria’s economy and in the broader West African subregion. Here are the core economic importance of Nigeria’s land border points with her neigbours:

Trade:

Nigeria’s borders facilitate trade with neighboring countries. Commodities such as food, livestock, textiles, and household goods flow both ways. For example, Benin heavily depends on Nigeria for its petroleum needs before the subsidy removal by President Tinubu.

For instance, one of the LGAs in Kwara State, Baruten, shares a long border with the Republic of Benin. Chikanda is a border town.

Regional Economic Integration:

Nigeria is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which aims to promote economic integration across the region.

For instance, there has always been cross-border trade between Cross River and Cameroon. Most of the traders are done through smuggling.

Employment: Border-related activities, including customs, immigration, transportation, and trading, provide employment opportunities for many Nigerians and citizens of neighboring countries. Many communities along these borders thrive on cross-border trade.

Revenue Generation:

Customs duties and tariffs on goods crossing the borders contribute significantly to Nigeria’s government revenues.

For instance, Jigawa traders and their counterparts in Niger Republic are partners in cross-border business.

Economic Diversification:

Nigeria’s neighbors offer markets for its non-oil exports, which is crucial for an economy looking to diversify away from oil dependence.

For instance, the Kebbi-Republics of Niger and Benin is an avenue for Kebbi rice farmers. Research has shown that some rice farmers in Kebbi have a good number of shops in the Niger and Benin Republics where their goods are sold.

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Infrastructure Development:

Cross-border infrastructure, such as roads, railways, and checkpoints, can spur economic growth by enhancing the movement of goods, services, and people.

For instance, in November 2022, Nigeria and Cameroon jointly commissioned 1.5 km Ekok/Mfum Bridge and Joint Border Post (JBP) at Mfun, Cross River State.

The road which linked both countries is part of the infrastructure development between Nigeria and Cameroon.

Cultural Exchange:

Apart from economic ties, the borders facilitate cultural and social interactions. This, in turn, can translate into tourism and various forms of economic opportunities rooted in shared cultural heritage.

For instance, only those who are familiar with Katsina and Kano can differentiate between citizens of Niger Republic and those from Kano/Katsina.

Economic Stability:

In September 2020, Nigeria’s government approved a whopping $1.96 billion rail contract from Kano to Maradi, Niger Republic to strengthen economic ties between the two countries.

Challenges of Nigeria’s Border Points:

While it is believed that the land borders these Nigerian states share with other African countries have been enhancing trade relations, this doesn’t come without some hiccups.

Security Issues:

Nigeria’s borders also present challenges. Insecurity, especially from insurgent groups like Boko Haram, affects trade and economic activities in the northeastern borders with Chad and Cameroon.

“The penetrability of our vast unmanned land areas – the north-east and north-west zones, particularly Borno, Yobe, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina states – with neigbouring countries such as Niger Republic and Chad among others has continued to be a key source of criminality and violent crimes in those parts of the country.

“Out of this 261 only 124 are manned leaving the remaining 137 unmanned by security agencies. Intelligence suggests that violence actors are using some of these normal border points to move freely from countries into Nigeria to cause mayhem.”

Gen. Lucky Irabor, Nigeria’s Ex-CDS

Illicit Trade:

Nigeria’s land borders with its neighbour also pose challenges, as smuggling and illicit trade can reduce potential customs revenues.

Infiltration Of Foreign Herder

Some of them include the infiltration of armed foreign herders into Nigeria through the land border and the smuggling of goods which has affected the local production in Nigeria.

If the government put in place good economic policies in place, the land borders Nigeria shares with the neighbouring countries can be a blessing in terms of international trade

In all, 17 states share boundaries with other African countries in Nigeria.

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