The Chief of Niger's military regime, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, abolished a law issued in 2015 that criminalized the smuggling of illegal immigrants seeking to reach Europe via Libya.
Under this law, Nigeriens who, in one way or another, facilitated the transfer of foreign immigrants to the north, Libya and Algeria, were subject to criminal prosecution.
An informed source revealed the news the French website Mondafrique Sunday and it would probably cause a shock in Brussels, where support for the Nigerien regime that was overthrown on July 26 was based above all on the desire expressed by the authorities to combat the influx of immigrants seeking to arrive in Europe, while it could open doors for immigrants to cross into neighboring Libya and Algeria.
The French website said that since the adoption of the law inspired by the European Union and formulated with the support of the United Nations, the smuggling networks based in northern Niger have been dismantled, and a large part of their equipment has been seized.
The law transformed Niger into a center for containing immigrants from West and Central Africa heading north, as the capital, Niamey, hosts a large reception center through which immigrants are returned to their countries of origin. The European Union, the International Organization for Migration, and the United States also funded the process of strengthening border control services in Niger.
Niger decided to repeal the law in response to the positions taken by the European Union against the July 26 coup, its support for the extremely harsh sanctions announced by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and its calls for the return of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, according to Mondafrique.