Hundreds of cargo trucks destined for Niger have been stranded for a week in Benin, with the bridge over the Niger River cut after heavy rains, a Nigerian union said on Monday. “We have on the day before yesterday (Saturday) 398 trucks loaded with goods that are stuck” in Malanville “, the last Beninese city near Niger, told AFP
Chaibou Tchombiano, general secretary of the Trade Union of traders The bridge that is the only road between Niger and the Beninese port of Cotonou became impassable after being severely damaged on September 5 by torrential rain, according to the authorities of the two states. yellowcake, the concentrate of uranium, extracted in northern Niger, transits to the port of Cotonou to be shipped to France. “The traffic is + dead + and you can see rows of trucks as far as the eye can see,” a resident of Gaya, the Nigerian city closest to Benin, told AFP.
In order to be able to deliver cargo as soon as possible to Niger, the Beninese authorities are proposing a diversion to Nigeria (a border crossing between the two countries), “pending the construction of another bridge within a minimum of 45 days,” Tchiombiano said, to local media.
This option requires “the agreement of the three countries”, especially Nigeria to eventually provide escort of truck convoys, he noted. If the blockage of trucks continues, “we must fear a shortage of certain products,” worried Sani Chipkaou, the president of the union. As a landlocked poor country, Niger benefits from a preferential tax regime for countries with a seaboard, which allows it to import a very large proportion of products intended for local consumption. The bulk of Nigerian freight passes through the port of Cotonou, the closest to Niamey, 1,000 km