Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Perceived Impact of Border Closure due to Covid-19 of Intending Nigerian Migrants

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Abstract:  With few exceptions, the European Council closed Europe for non-citizen travellers on 17 March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many African countries, including Nigeria, have placed travel restrictions on or completely shut their borders to both travellers who want to enter the country and citizens who want to leave. These decisions affect many intending migrants seeking a way to reach Europe. Health and socioeconomic uncertainties related to lockdowns, border closure, and in some cases travel restrictions directly affect the dynamics of decision-making by migrants. This article employs in-depth interviews and focus group discussions to explore the perception of Nigerians who intend to migrate considering the influence of Covid-19. The study focuses on Nigerian migrants but touches on Nigerians in transit who are trapped in Niger en route to Europe through Libya and Morocco. While border closure by most of the sending and receiving countries led to a decrease in the intention of migrants to travel, Covid-19 as a pandemic does not significantly influence migrants’ decisions primarily because of its global presence, merely leading to delays. In conclusion, after border reopening, intercontinental migration is expected to increase in both volume and intensity.

Keywords:  border closure; Covid-19; lockdown; migration; mobility; Nigerian migrants; travel restrictions


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© Lawan Cheri. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.