Nigeria a Ragged Exodus of the Unwanted

Once again, economic woes trigger the mass expulsion of aliens

As last Friday's deadline drew near, the refugees began to mass at the crossing posts along Nigeria's western border with Benin. Their mattresses, chairs, plastic containers and enamel cooking pots spilled out of trailers, trucks and minibuses. Many of those who made it across the border had first to surrender any supplies of sugar, milk and detergents--officially described as "essential commodities"--to Nigerian immigration and customs officials. No one was permitted to leave with more than $22 worth of naira, Nigeria's currency. The scenes at posts along Nigeria's borders with Niger and Chad were much the same, as streams of anxious refugees...

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