Ogun Deputy Gov. Advocates Modalities for Improved Boundary Relations

It is imperative to work out proper modalities for demarcation of boundaries, as well as other socio-economic issues, including trans-border trade, cross-border integration and adequate security of Nigerians living in these border areas, towards improving their livelihoods.

Ogun State Deputy Governor, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, who doubles as the Chairman Ogun State Boundary Committee, stated this during a day workshop, organised by the National Boundary Commission in conjunction with the Oyo State Government, themed, “Creation of Platform for Local Border Authorities Along Nigeria-Benin International Boundary”, at Ibadan, Oyo State.

Engr. Salako-Oyedele, who charged stakeholders vested with border management in Nigeria, to make boundary matters front burner issues within the states concerned and the country, noted that though there were government policies that could be beneficial to the country which might be punitive to people in the border communities, adding that resolving the issues must be identified and adopted for the general good.

While appreciating men and officers of the Nigerian Customs Service and Nigeria Immigration Service for their efforts at safeguarding the border areas, the Deputy Governor tasked them to consider the homogeneous nature of border communities in the implementation of government policies.

She pointed out that the workshop would provide platform for participants to share ideas, in a bid to find a lasting solution to the problem plaguing the border communities within the Nigeria-Benin International Boundary.

Speaking, Oyo State Deputy Governor and Chairman, Oyo State Boundary Committee, Barr. Abdul-Raheem Lawal, noted that it was time to strengthen security, enhance the bilateral relationship, promote collaboration and have a good business relationship between Nigeria and Benin Republic, advocating for a paradigm shift from demarcation between Republic of Benin and Nigeria, focusing on integrating border communities and addressing challenges such as infrastructures and other basic amenities.

In their separate remarks, representatives of Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Mr Olufemi Ajayi; his counterparts in Kwara, Mr. Kayode Alabi, represented by Alhaji Abdullahi Bata; Niger State, Comrade Yakubu Garba, represented by Surv. Idris Aliyu and Kebbi State, Sen. Umar Abubakar, represented by Surv. Sadiq Marafa, noted that the workshop would enhance the relationship between affected countries and impact people living in border towns, to foster greater impetus through investment and business relations.

They added that it would ensure smooth and successful operation of securities in border towns and foster bilateral relationship, among others, leading to more integrated border relations and enhanced regional development, commending the National Boundary Commission for efforts in creating platforms for local border authorities along Nigeria Benin International Boundary.

Earlier, the Director General, National Boundary Commission, Surv. Adamu Adaji, said the workshop was designed to promote trans-border, development and economic relations between local and international borders, as well as ensure effective border management, disclosing that such an event had been initiated between Nigeria and Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad, to promote peace and tranquillity among border communities.

Remarking, Executive Secretary, Border Communities Development Agency, Captain Junaid Abdullahi, represented by Alhaji Sodiq Musa, commended the National Boundary Commission for creating a platform for local border authorities, saying the development of border areas were key components to national development, hence the need to address the issue of insecurity, as well as promote bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Contributing, the Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service, CGI Caroline Adepoju, represented by Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, Vitus Onyeka and his counterpart in Nigerian Custom Service, CGC Bashir Adeniyi, also represented by ACG Hammi Swomen, called for more synergy between security agencies and people living in border communities, appealing to traditional rulers to caution their subjects against smuggling and other nefarious activities in border towns.

Also speaking, the Onimeko of Imeko, Oba Benjamin Olanite Alabi and the Emir of Okuta, Kwara State, Alhaji Abubakar Idris, bemoaned that people living in border areas in the country were neglected, as they lack good roads, electricity, among others, urging the government to ameliorate their sufferings through provision of infrastructural amenities.

The highlight of the programme was the appointment of the State Deputy Governor to chair the Forum of States Bordering Nigeria and Republic of Benin.