The National Boundary Commission (NBC), says it is coordinating efforts to improve transborder relations and security between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
The Director General of the commission, Mr Adamu Adaji, made this known during a stakeholders’ workshop on the initiative, on Monday in Sokoto.
Adaji said that the commission had created a platform where local authorities, border communities, traditional institutions and government agencies across the two countries would work together.
According to him, 21 local government areas in Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Yobe, Jigawa and Borno bordering Niger Republic would utilise the platform to deepen social and economic relations, as well as security in the two countries.
On the workshop, Adaji said it was the maiden engagement of the National Consultative Forum for the promotion of security and economic prosperity of border regions.
”This workshop has come at a better time owing to the rising challenges of insecurity along our borders and the desire for economic cooperation and integration across borders of the African continent.”
He observed that in spite of the borders, community had remained homogeneous across countries, as people continue to relate with their brothers.
The DG therefore said deepening cross border cooperation would cement the existing bond and transborder security.
”Federal Government places great importance on the role of border local government authorities and traditional rulers in the attainment of peaceful coexistence between Nigeria and her proximate neighbours.
”Their role is not only limited to the promotion of peaceful coexistence, but also very relevant in facilitating cross border cooperation and regional integration.
”Promotion of African unity and integration is one of Nigeria’s cardinal principles.
“And that was demonstrated with the recent ratification and deposition of the African Union Convention on Cross Border Cooperation (Niamey Convention) on Oct. 5, 2023. ” Adaji added.
He further explained that the convention paved way for cross border cooperation and transborder security at local, sub-regional and regional levels.
“There is no doubt that effective and integrated border management is necessary to combat cross border crimes, terrorism, piracy, and other forms of crimes, and this will transform border areas into catalysts for growth.
”This can only be achieved successfully when a Local Border Platform is created.
”Nigeria has about 4,500km land border and about 850 km stretch of maritime border and to police this length no doubt requires the support of our local border authorities and borderland communities who are the main gateways to our nations.
”This clearly explains the fact that the work of securing our territorial borders must be a collective responsibility and all hands must be on deck. ” he added.
Adaji said the platform would be replicated across all frontiers of Nigeria to ease the translation of the decisions of the Border Governors Forum into concrete actions.
He added that the platform would serve as a vehicle for regular engagements between local authorities and traditional institutions in Nigeria with their counterparts in neighbouring countries.
Earlier, Alhaji Idris Gobir, the Deputy Gov. of Sokoto State said that the initiative was timely, and pledged their support.
Gobir urged the Federal Government to resolve the lingering border dispute in Bachaka community, Sokoto state.
According to the deputy governor, the initiative would facilitate increased surveillance of the borders which will help to tackle insecurity other transborder crimes.
The District Head of Sabon Birni, Alhaji Isah Bawa, who represented the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, commended the efforts and pledged maximum cooperation of the traditional institutions in order to achieve success.
BRANDPOWER reports that the workshop was attended by the Deputy Governors of Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno, as well as local government chairmen and traditional rulers.