The National Boundary Commission (NBC), in collaboration with the Borno Government, has put together a one-day programme for the creation of a platform for local border authorities in the North-East.
The programme with the theme “Transforming Borders from Barriers of Separation to Bridges of Co-operation and Integration” held in Maiduguri.
This is contained in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja by Mrs Efe Ovuakporie, NBC Head of Information Unit.
The programme was predicated on the need by the Federal Government to proactively harness the abundance of the human resources available in the country towards attaining peaceful coexistence between Nigeria and its proximate neighbours.
It was also to facilitate cross-border cooperation and regional integration.
The Director-General of NBC, Mr Adamu Adaji, in his address of welcome, implored the participants to be purveyors of peace in their respective domains, stressing that promoting peaceful coexistence should be everybody’s concern.
“Border state governments and border local governments that are far from the national capital have critical roles to play because of their proximity to the borders and borderlands.
“Nigeria’s expanse territory spans approximately 4,500km land borders and about 850km stretch of maritime boundaries.
“It will amount to a herculean task to abandon the task of effectively policing the length and breath of the border to a country. This informed the decision by both the AU and the ECOWAS to engage the services of the regional and local authorities.
“These authorities are the main gateways to our nation`s in providing support for effective policing,” Adaji said.
Adaji, who was represented by the Acting Director, International Boundaries Department, Hajiya Hauwa Abdul-Ismail, urged the various chairmen and traditional rulers to engage their counterparts in the neigbouring countries.
According to him, this strategy will assist in the cross border development initiatives that will aid in proffering on-the-spot solutions to some of the security challenges plaguing the nation.
The NBC boss added that it would also strengthen opportunities for cross border economic development.
Adaji disclosed that the platform would be replicated across all frontiers of Nigeria, maintaining that it could serve as a veritable platform for translating the decisions of the Border Governors Forum into concrete actions.
“It will also serve as a vehicle for regular engagement of our local authorities and traditional institutions and the proximate countries,” he said.
The statement also quoted Borno Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Usman Kadafur, represented by the Commissioner for Inter-Governmental Affairs, Pogu Lawan, as lauding the NBC for the initiative.
According to Kadafur, the creation of the platform is an indication by the Federal Government to sustain the synergy among critical stakeholders through regular engagements with a view to strengthening the long lasting relationship.
“The initiative will also serve as a platform to mitigate the daunting challenges being faced at the border communities by instituting projects of common benefits geared towards enhancing the existing relationships with our neighbours and uplifting the standard of living amongst border communities dwellers.
“The Borno State Government is relentlessly making efforts to bridge the infrastructural gap occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency in the past decade and some other states within the region.
“I am optimistic that Nigeria will be able to stem the menace of trans-border insecurity and also open the window of opportunities for economic cooperation, as well as attain joint venture development among our neighbouring countries,” Kadafur said.
Similarly, according to the statement, the Executive Secretary of the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Capt. Junaid Abdullahi (rtd), pledged his agency’s continued partnership with all relevant government and non-governmental organisations towards the implementation of effective border management policies.
Abdullahi, who was represented by the Director, Planning, Inter-Governmental and Community Relations of the agency, Mr Sadiq Abdullahi, said that BCDA had established zonal offices across the country.
“This is to enable us to conduct Needs Survey Assessment with the active participation of stakeholders to help it deliver on its mandate.
“We commend NBC for its efforts and commitment towards the implementation of the African Union Border Governance Strategy.
“Borno State has the longest boundary in Nigeria, covering a distance of over 900km, spanning across three countries, states and nine local government areas,” Abdullahi said. (NAN)