Niger’s military junta has overturned an anti-migration law that criminalised the transportation of migrants through the country.
The junta announced the repeal of the law in a statement, noting that the junta leader, Gen Abdourahamane Tchiani had signed a decree revoking it.
The law was introduced in 2015 with EU backing to help reduce the flow of West Africans to Europe.
It was widely opposed by desert-dwellers whose economies relied on the traffic.
There are fears the trafficking gangs could see the repeal of the law as an opportunity to transport people towards Libya or Algeria for onward travel to Europe.
Analysts say the move indicates the junta is asserting its authority in defiance of international pressure.
Niger reportedly received about $1.9bn (£1.5bn) in migration-related support between 2015 and 2022.
It is not yet clear how the EU will respond to what is now seen as a huge blow to its strategy for managing migration flows from Africa.