Security Porosity: First Thing First By Omogbolahan Babs

Security guard Achi Daniel

Not too long ago, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu asserted that some state governors actually escalate insecurity situation in order to get more security votes. Yes! It is that bad. How people we elected would relish blood spills just so to satiate their avarice for humongous wealth is as flabbergasting as sardonic. Each time I say the security challenge we face today has political undertone, many talk me down. But it is the hard truth. Added to this seeming hydra-headed quagmire is the complicity of top security officials. Many of our top security officials profit from the security imbroglio that confront the nation. They hardly will not want it abated.

Bizarre as this may sound, there are experiences that show some of the top officers within our security paraphernalia aid and abet crimes. Imagine a State Commissioner of Police (CP) threatening a sitting governor that there would be insecurity in the state if he failed to revert to the old arrangement on fund disbursement. The new governor had cut down on some expenses across board. But the CP insisted the new governor must sustain the arrangement between him (CP) and the former state governor. How do you describe a CP in whose jurisdiction an expatriate was reportedly kidnapped, and the next thing he would say to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the affected area on phone was that the victim should pay the ransom; after all he was an expatriate, he had money?

The question then is how do we address a situation where those who are supposed to secure lives aid criminals? Our security let-down is a number of combined factors, one of which is the porosity of our borders. As of today, Nigeria has over 4,000 entries bordering other neighboring countries. Yes! Over 4,000. It is that huge! But the question is how effective are these borders managed? Ridiculously, it will interest anyone to know that some of these borders are barricaded with just bamboo trees. Some do not even have barricades, which means migrants can just saunter into the country at will. And nobody questions anybody. I read recently a confession made by one of the abductors of President Muhammadu Buhari’s village head. The guy said they were actually foreigners trained in Libya for cattle rustling and kidnapping, but sent to invade Nigeria.

Anybody who knows Katsina State very well will agree with me that Katsina which borders Niger Republic has very porous borders. About three years ago, some over 3,000 migrants were rounded up in Edo State by officials of the Nigerian Immigration Services – NIS. These persons were foreign nationals who found their ways into the country through our numerous borders. How they got in here without anybody raising alarm or questioning them is one of the reasons security is ubiquitous in Nigeria. If Edo State alone could account for over 3,000 illegal migrants into the state, only God knows the number of illegal immigrants who might have found their ways into the states up north, south south and south west that border neighboring countries.

First thing first, the Nigerian state must address, squarely, the issue of our very porous borders. I am still flummoxed that after almost 3 scores of gaining independence, we are still bedeviled with open borders that allow for every Tom, Dick and Harry to ‘flood’ our darling country. The truth remains no amount of security checks or mechanisms deployed will be as efficacious as having, first, a strong border management. It is risibly ridiculous that in a 21st century, a country which prides herself as the giant of the continent will have her borders barricaded with bamboo trees. It is time this minikin giant woke up from her slumbers. We have a dire situation at our hands.

Omogbolahan Babs (ÒGBÉNI CZAR™) writes from Abuja

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