Nigeria, Benin, Niger Establish Joint Border Patrol

Joint Border Patrol

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria, the Benin Republic and the Niger Republic have set up a tripartite border patrol team that will check smuggling, irregular migration and other organised crimes committed across transnational lines as Nigeria begins the gradual opening of its land borders.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Joseph Attah, on behalf of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr Hammed Ali, on Friday.

It was explained that the alliance will see Nigeria’s Operation Swift Response (OSR), which was launched in August 2019 and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), transformed into Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) as part of a tripartite operation, comprising the three West African nations.

Giving a goodwill message to the transformed Operation SWIFT RESPONSE, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr Babagana Monguno, applauded the unflinching commitment of the security operatives to the national assignment and urged them not to rest on their oars.

The NSA further stated that the joint patrols would be adequately administered and charged the operatives to display a high level of professionalism during the operation with their neighbouring counterparts.

He said this was because Nigeria has a widely acclaimed track record of security operations not just at the West African region level, but the world at large.

The customs also used the opportunity to warn that despite the decision to open its borders for commercial activities, it was not a greenlight for illegal activities to resume. It warned that import of items such as parboiled rice, frozen chicken, illicit drugs, among others remain prohibited.

The Nigerian government had in August 2019 closed its landed borders and the service noted that a year and four months into the operation, the smuggling of illicit drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons used to exacerbate Violent Extremism and Terrorism in some parts of the country have been significantly curbed.

The agency also noted that it seized a large number of prohibited items and arrested irregular migrants as the operation progresses.

The service revealed that, “As at January 5, 2021; 1,401 irregular migrants had been arrested while the total seizures were; 159,506.7 (50kg) bags of parboiled foreign rice; 10,447 bags of NPK fertilizer used for making explosives; 1,974 vehicles; 895 motorcycles; and 18,690.3 jerricans of vegetable oil, among other seized items. It was disclosed that the total monetary value of the apprehended items is worth N12.54 billion.

The statement noted that its priority remained to keep our borders safe from any inimical activity that will compromise the nation’s interest and thanked Nigerians and the business community for their continuous support.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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