The porousness of the Nigerian border has often been touted as one of the nation’s biggest security risks for ages.
Despite the open secret about the free borders, the lack of willpower to checkmate these porous spots has undoubtedly plunged the nation into an unending war with criminal elements – terrorists, bandits, smugglers and all sorts of black market traders.
Most of these borders are often hidden in the inner rural areas where it is easy to slip through and fro unnoticed, especially through the unguarded bushes and forests. It has become increasingly difficult to control what comes in or goes out through these areas.
So many of these International spots are in the Northern region of the country, especially between the Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi and Katsina subregion. The Southwest and the Eastern part of the country are not left out of the porosity too, with so many routes to neighbouring countries like Cameroon and Benin Republic.
In a recent study released by Murtala Rufa’i, a lecturer at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and titled “I am a Bandit’: A Decade of Research on Armed Banditry in Zamfara State”, he stated that the country has over
1,950 official borders.
According to the research which spanned a period of ten (10) years, “the Nigerian security operatives have complained of grossly inadequate personnel” to handle the security threat posed by such borders.
The study further explained that “there is absolute shortage of manpower and officers want to be posted to lucrative borders. The armed smugglers mostly used these minor entries for the supply of arms into the country.”
With the free influx of foreign armed herdsmen into the country and emboldened bandits (terrorists) running berserk in the North, it remains to be seen how the country plans to curb the security menace and nip it bud. This is because the bigger criminals has taken over these spots and use them to run their illegal operations.
In this instance, villagers are recruited by terrorists, bandits and smugglers to aid their trafficking activities and other illegal transborder runs. According to the report –
“Some of these illicit traffickers are well-known in their communities, while others remain unknown. Calamity could befall any community that expose these suppliers to security agencies.
“Since the Nigerian security operatives have complained of grossly inadequate personnel, in addition to proving incapable of defending the people from the rural war-lords, the best thing is to observe ‘conspiracy of silence’ for peace to reign in the villages.”
Putting an to the international crime ring that traverse these borders requires massive planning and adequate security intervention or else it may continue to spell doom for the country’s security structures.