The Nigeria Immigration Service will at midnight on Saturday close all land borders into the country and across states ahead of the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections, Saturday PUNCH learned on Friday.
In a memo made available to our correspondent by the Service Spokesperson, Anthony Akuneme, the 24-hour border closure will end at midnight on Sunday, even as the collation of results begins across states.
The directive issued by the service Comptroller-General, Isah Idris, read “The Federal Government has directed the total closure of all land borders effective from 00:00 hours on Saturday, March 18, 2023, to 00:00 hours on Sunday, March 19, 2023.
“Accordingly, all command comptrollers, especially those in the border states are to ensure strict enforcement of this directive.”
While the closure involves borders with neighbouring Cameroun, Niger, Chad and the Benin Republic, state governments will be responsible for the control of movement in and out of their jurisdictions during the 24-hour period.
In a chat with one of our correspondents earlier on Friday, the Ministry of Interior hinted that states will ensure the stoppage of the movement of persons and goods into their borders during the electoral exercise.
The March 18 governorship election, which will be conducted in 28 states, is the second leg of the 2023 general elections.
It comes about three weeks after the Presidential and National Assembly elections which saw the emergence of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress as president-elect.
The states include Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara states.
However, governorship elections in Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Osun and Ondo states are held off-season due to litigations and court judgements.
Nonetheless, State House of Assembly elections will be held in all 36 states of the country.