How fragile border fuels terrorism, economic sabotage - Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria and her neighbours must place higher premium on the effective policing of borders to check criminal activities.
Mikuriya is in Nigeria for a Global Conference on Fragile Borders.
According to the president, the fragile nature of entry points into various countries enhances terrorism, economic sabotage, and illicit flow of arms.
While commending Mikuriya for his 4th visit to the country, Buhari said this current one was coming at a time Nigeria was preparing for general elections.
”I have made it a cardinal commitment to ensure each Nigerian is able to exercise their franchise by participating in a free and fair election, in true practice of our relatively nascent democracy.
“It is our objective to ensure this takes place in a peaceful and conducive atmosphere, despite all the usual excitement and gamesmanship that is known to occur during election campaigning,” he said.
Theme of the conference is ‘Enabling Customs in Fragile and Conflict Affected Situations,’ which the President said is of “critical importance for us as a country as we go to the polls.
”(It is) equally important to most countries on the continent, and dare I say the world. In fact, it is quite frankly the singular most concerning sub-issue in our national security agenda.
”The fragility of our borders has been a major Achilles heel in our fight against terrorism, economic sabotage and illicit flow of small and light weapons.”
He lauded the organisation for ”inviting great thought leadership to dissect the issues and explore how nations in Africa can address this problem given our unique set of circumstances while also pursuing our joint and collective idea of an interconnected continent via trade and movement of goods and services.”
The Nigerian leader briefed the WCO Secretary General and his team on a number of efforts in combating the challenges of fragile borders, which include:
“Our National Security strategy 2019 which promotes close inter-agency cooperation and the National Counter-Terrorism strategy which mandates Nigeria Customs Service to support other Agencies of government on fighting terrorism;
“Support for the armed forces in launching operations to secure our borders.
“Demonstration of a strong political will to support Nigeria Customs Service, as a critical agency of state in the discharge of its security and revenue mandates.
“Approval of the Federal Executive Council for a new Customs Modernization Project that actively promotes the integration of technology into border operations.
”The ongoing effort to review the Customs enabling law to strengthen the Nigeria Customs Service and provide stiffer sanctions against smuggling and other criminal acts.”
Buhari hoped that the conference would seek to understand the operating environment that exists around countries that struggle with fragile borders, and see how comprehensive and exhaustive solutions can be proposed to deal with the multi-faceted nature of the issues.
In his remarks, Mikuriya described WCO as a 184-member worldwide organization, in which Nigeria had been playing an active and vibrant role.
He said Customs services must now go beyond mere revenue generation, and delve into security, as “without security at the borders, we cannot effectively collect revenue.”
Mikuriya lamented that Customs officials were often targets of terrorists and armed groups, “and so we need to have collaboration with other security agencies, share intelligence, and deploy technology.”
He thanked Nigeria for hosting the three days conference.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: