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Porous borders fueling prolonged insecurity in Nigeria –Experts

The prolonged insecurity situation in the North East region and other parts of Nigeria has been attributed to the porous international borders and the inability of the security agencies to check the influx of illegal aliens including bandits and armed herdsmen into the country.

 

The situation, it was also learnt, has resulted in the ceaseless inflow of small arms and light weapons across multiple unmanned borders which Nigeria shares with other countries.

 

These were the views of some stakeholders at a project dissemination workshop organised by Nextier Security, Peace and Development (Nextier SPD) in Abuja.

 

The workshop, with the theme: ‘Entrenching Peace; Assessing Community Resilience and Peace Initiative in North East Nigeria’, was held in Conjunction with Managing Conflict in Northeast Nigeria (MCN) and funded by the European Union (EU).

 

The parley which featured experts on the subject agreed that the uncontrolled movement of armed criminal elements into Nigeria has been largely responsible for the sustenance of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East over the past 10 years.

 

One of the discussants, Professor Patricia Donli of the University of Maiduguri, said that the inability of the relevant security agencies such as the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigeria Customs Service to live up to their responsibilities has been the major cause of the unending insecurity in Borno State.

 

She said that Borno State, which shares borders with Cameroun, Niger Republic and Chad, had hundreds of unmanned entry routes. The situation, Donli said, has not only led to the booming trade in contraband goods but fuelled the insecurity.

 

Apparently blaming the Federal Government as well as the respective state governments in the North East for neglecting border communities, Donli stated that long term neglect could make people desperate as the individual makes choices that may endanger the community due to the need to fend for themselves.

 

“Violent extremism thrives in society where there is neglect as it is a known fact that the North East has been neglected  for a long period of time on issues of education, governing environment and more.

 

“This violence has degenerated to issues of displacement, striping the people of the affected community of all valuables. They most times flee their communities with nothing, with most women and vulnerable teenagers becoming bread winners. Also the stigmatising of abducted women in their communities which is becoming a real issue,” she said.

 

Donli disclosed that while Boko Haram may no longer have control of communities in Borno State, many of the communities were still vulnerable to attacks anytime.

 

Similarly, Professor Haruna Dlakwa, also of the University of Maiduguri, has commended the resilient nature of the women in these conflict stricken communities as they continue to strive even in difficult situations. Chief Executive of Nextier SPD Dr. Ndu Nwokolo stressed the need for continuous engagement with the people to understand how they are able to carry on in the conflict zone.

 

 

Nwokolo noted that for a government to work to sustain peace in these communities they also have to understand the coping mechanisms of these people. He urged the government to identify the resilient strategies of the people, cash in on them and use these strategies that are dear to them to assist the people.

 

A member, UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries, Dr. Chris Kwaja, reiterated the need to engage the people through various means of sensitisation. Kwaja said that mass sensitisation was very important as today victims might become tomorrow’s killers resulting in a continuous vicious circle.

 

He stated the need for the involvement of women in decision making, saying this was very crucial in making progress.

 

According to him inclusion and involvement of women should not just be important in peace keeping but also during periods of insecurity.

 

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