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Security: PMB Harps On Effective Policing Of Borders

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria and her neighbors will enjoy maximum peace if they must place higher premium on effective policing of borders.

The President made the observation in Abuja, while playing host to the Secretary General, World Customs Organization, WCO, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, who is in Nigeria for a Global Conference on Fragile Borders.

President Buhari noted that the fragile nature of entry points into various countries was enhancing terrorism, economic sabotage, and illicit flow of arms.

Commending Mikuriya for his 4th visit to the country, President Buhari said Dr. Mikuriya had come again at time Nigeria was preparing for her general elections, stressing that he has 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 Nigeria’s 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.”

Theme of the conference is ‘Enabling Customs in Fragile and and Conflict-Affected Situations,’ which the President said was of critical importance, as the country was preparing for the polls, noting that the theme was equally important to the entire 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”, the President stressed.

President Buhari said he was happy that the WCO had dedicated an entire conference to the subject and theme, thus recognizing not only its importance, but dedicating working sessions and brainstorming around it, and inviting great thought leadership to dissect the issues and explore how nations in Africa could address this problem, given their unique set of circumstances, while also pursuing their joint and collective idea of an interconnected continent via trade and movement of goods and services.

He 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;
and “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.”

President Buhari hoped that the conference would seek to understand the operating environment existing around countries struggling with fragile borders, and see how comprehensive and exhaustive solutions could be proposed to deal with the multi-faceted nature of the issues.

Dr. Mikuriya had described WCO as a 184-member worldwide organisation, in which Nigeria plays an active and vibrant role.

He said customs services must now go beyond mere revenue generation, and delve into security, noting that without security at the borders, nations could not effectively collect revenue.

He lamented that customs officials were often targets of terrorists and armed groups, and emphasised the need to have collaboration with other security agencies, share intelligence, and deploy technology.

He thanked Nigeria for hosting the three days conference.

Abdullah Bello edited by grace namiji

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