Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that Nigeria needs to rethink and re-engineer her border policies so as to tackle all the challenges in the border areas.
Osinbajo made the call on Monday at the National Boundary Commission (NBC), retreat on border management in Abuja.
The Vice President stated that the Federal Government fully recognised the significance of the NBC role and that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of six persons to the board.
He said, “There is no doubt that the most viable and enduring solutions to Nigeria’s border problems will not happen in the absence of such a wide-ranging collaborative framework.
“Nigeria has over 4,000 kilometres of external borders, including its Atlantic coastline; in addition to the thousands of kilometres of borders that the 36 States and the FCT share with one another. What happens along these borders greatly affect what happens within them.
“A cursory look at the daily news headlines shows just how much of the issues they embody are determined by activities taking place at or across our land and maritime borders and boundaries.
“They range from smuggling, illegal oil bunkering, the impact of undocumented migration on the security situation in the North Central, and communal clashes arising from boundary disputes.
“The National Boundary Commission is responsible, according to the Act that established it, for defining and delimiting Nigeria’s internal and external boundaries, resolving disputes, promoting trans-boundary cooperation, and coordinating all activities on our international boundaries.
“This means that the Commission has a very important role to play in mobilizing and coordinating various stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, subnational governments, foreign governments, bilateral and multilateral organizations and others, to collectively deal with any and all boundary issues.”
Osinbajo noted that the Federal Government fully recognizes the significance of the National Boundary Commission’s role and as part of efforts to strengthen the Commission and reposition it to more effectively fulfill its responsibilities, President Buhari has approved the appointment of six (6) distinguished Nigerians as members of the Board.
He explained that the six appointed members, representing the six geopolitical zones of the country, will work hand in hand with the ex-officio members of the Commission’s Board – Ministers, State Governors, Security Chiefs – as well as the management and staff of the Commission.
He said, “It is important that you work harmoniously, not only among yourselves as a Commission, but also with all external stakeholders. As a Commission whose mandate includes ensuring harmonious border relations, charity has to begin at home.
“Permit me to mention that the role of the Commission given the numerous border challenges has to be more creative and innovative. Every nation attends to the peculiarities of its border issues with solutions that are nuanced, smart, affordable and result-oriented. We simply cannot do things in the same way we did them for years and expect different results.
“It is time to rethink and re-engineer our border policies. This is the paramount responsibility of the commission and we trust that you will deliver.”