By: Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin
The world has gone beyond the crude mode of operations of Nigeria’s security architecture; its shortcoming is further being brought to the public glare by the directive of the Controller General of Nigerian Customs Service, Col (Rtd) Ali Hammed, to halt the supply of petroleum products within 20 kilometers of our national borders to prevent export to neighbouring countries.
The policy would be disastrous to the livelihood of those living and working in and around these areas, who also depend on petroleum products for survival.When has it become a crime to live around the borders?We can’t behave as if they have forfeited their citizenship because they live around the borders.
The federal government must, as a matter of its primary responsibility of providing for the welfare of all its citizens direct the Nigerian Customs Service to rescind on such an anti-people policy and seek other forms of stopping smuggling.
The primary responsibility of the government shall be the enhancement and provision of welfare for its citizens. No one has the power to choose where he comes from or place of ancestral lineage. Some people have even over the years situated their daily means of livelihood in and around border towns. Nigeria is a member of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The Charter of ECOWAS provides for free movement and cross-country movement within its neighbouring and member countries.
Fundamentally, there is a huge security lacuna in the mode of operations in Nigerian Security architecture and procedures. For instance, there are many non-South Western security personnel being posted and attached to our borders in the South West as against what is obtainable in the Northern region boarders where a chunk of the Northern Vigilante extraction of security personnel are posted and attached to such areas. Such action is not in national interest and it poses a great threat to our national cohesion, peace and progress.
America can go to war over just a citizen,it is amazing we take decisions that affect several thousands of our citizens without putting paliative measures in place.
Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin
President, Centre for Change.