The impact of Nigeria's socio-economic challenges are being felt beyond its borders.

Recently, Nigeria’s economy sneezed and one if its neighbours, Benin caught a flu. Its smuggling business is almost dead.

An investigation by Reuters revealed that the thriving car import business in Benin is as good as over as Nigeria grapples with recession and banned car importation through land borders.

The Reuters investigation revealed that on the outskirts of Benin's port city of Cotonou, thousands of used cars filled a vast parking lot but there were no Nigerian merchants to buy them.

"There are no more Nigerian buyers, the car parks are full of merchandise, and mechanics, drivers, electricians, painters have all lost their jobs," Fréjus Fatondji, who works at a car lot in Cotonou, told Reuters.

Vice President of a car import dealership, Tadjou Adejouma also told Reuters that until last year they were selling 35,000 vehicles a month but now they barely sell 3,000.

Residents say drivers used to pass by in huge convoys, speeding towards the border, beeping their horns in celebration.

Bars that sprang up to cater for visiting clients have closed and dozens of Lebanese, who dominate the import business, have departed.