FG Mulls Establishment of Special Security Force to Man Porous Borders

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The Federal Government says it is exploring the possibility of setting up a border security force in the foreseeable future to secure Nigeria’s porous border areas.

The National Security Adviser, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, disclosed this in Paris at the Nigeria international Partnership Forum held on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum.

The event, attended by President Muhammadu Buhari and business moguls from Nigeria and France, was organised to spotlight Nigeria’s immense trade and investment opportunities.

Monguno noted that Africa’s porous border had remained a major source of concern as it aided smuggling of prohibited items and irregular migration as well as other trans-national organised crimes and human trafficking.

“Nigeria is bordered to the North by Niger Republic, to the East by Chad and Cameroon and to the South by the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean and to the West by Benin Republic. However, Nigeria excessive land and maritime borders are incredibly porous and poorly managed and this placed further responsibility on the border security agencies.

“In this regard, the Nigeria Customs Service had developed the E-Customs strategy while the Nigeria Immigration put in place an integrated border management system. It is necessary to observe that both strategies place premium on employing technology to complement other existing physical border security arrangements,’’ he said.

The NSA noted that as part of efforts to strengthen border security, tripartite joint border patrol team comprising Nigeria, Niger and Benin Republic was recently established to curb the increasing scale of smuggling of prohibited items as well as irregular migration across the nation’s borders

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He said the step taken had greatly reduced the scale of nation’s transnational organised crimes.

Monguno said the issue of piracy and sea robbery had been of serious concern in the region and continent at large. Specifically, he said the Gulf of Guinea had been identified as a very dangerous sea route for merchant and oil tanker operating vessels due to the threat of piracy.

He said the frequency of the incidences had resulted in the negative global assessment of the maritime concerns.

Monguno, however, said the Nigerian Navy, in collaboration with other maritime security agencies, had been able to significantly curb the scale of piracy and sea robbery in the region.

According to the NSA, there had been no case of piracy or sea robbery all through the third quarter of 2021 till date. He compared the feat to the second quarter of 2021 which recorded only three pirate attacks and one sea robbery incident.

“This is largely due to the Nigeria’s Naval operations which have sustained aggressive anti-piracy patrols leveraging on maritime domain awareness assets mainly the Falcon 1 and wireless capability assets.

“The assets have facilitated numerous interceptions of maritime criminals and by implication improve the security of waterways for commercial activities. This achievement is further complemented by implementation of harmonised operations procedure for the arrest, detention and prosecution of vessels and persons in Nigeria maritime environment,’’ he said.

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Monhuno said with the achievement recorded, the International Maritime Bureau global piracy report of July 14, 2021 indicated the lowest number of piracy and sea robbery incidence against ships since 27 years.

He said the report was corroborated by the Defence Web, in its October 15, 2021 report of maritime security which noted a further decline in reported cases of piracy and armed attacks against ships since President Buhari appointed a new Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo.

“This development is achievable by the Nigerian Navy’s consistent presence at sea and conduct of sea exercises with regional and international partners, particular USA, UK and other countries, to ensure the security of Nigeria maritime environment,’’ he said.

In his presentation, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, President Buhari’s Special Envoy to Chad and Lake Chad Basin, underscored the need for investment in the youths and bridging the gap between the poor and the rich as panacea to the unrest in some parts of Africa.

Kingibe said African leaders and the business community must show commitment to peace and security to attract investment to the continent.

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