The Federal Government is making plans to close land borders nationwide as part of moves to enhance national security, citizens safety and curb criminal activities.
This is just as President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the military to be more decisive in restoring peace to the country, particularly states troubled by bandits, ordering them “not to spare bandits” that have been killing, maiming and extorting innocent citizens.
The border-closure move which is being coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), according to a source, is aimed at further forestalling activities of bandits, illegal migration, influx of prohibited items and boosting security of communities considered to be at the fringes of Nigeria and its neighbours.
The closure and movement restrictions, Sunday Tribune gathered will be executed jointly by all government security and intelligence outfits aimed at taming movements of persons with unclear intents.
It was gathered that all hitherto unmanned areas along large expanse of lands in border communities will be manned in such a manner deploying joint support, information sharing, coordination and back up among the security services.
The government had through Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) asked foreigners with irregular documentation residing in the country to register within six months from July 2019.
Checks at the approved border routes are expected to increase for travelers ostensibly taking advantage of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on free movement of persons and goods within West Africa.
“The government seems worried that neighbouring countries have allowed their areas to be access points into Nigeria for illegal migration by some suspected criminal elements and shipment of banned or prohibited items that undermine national security and economy.
“Insecurity in some parts of the country has affected agricultural activities and is capable of threatening food production as some farmers have fled their fields due to incessant attacks by suspected foreign bandits,” the source stated.
Various security agencies, Sunday Tribune gathered, have started movement of operatives to ensure the borders are monitored with priority on safety of law abiding citizens.
“States with land border stations across the country are likely to experience increased security presence involving the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Customs, Immigration, Civil Defence, Department of State Service (DSS), Nigeria Intelligence Agency and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) under the joint operation,” the source added.
Responding to inquiries on the issue, spokesman for Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr. Sunday James, disclosed that the service is not aware of any plan for border closure.
He said the directive to get all foreigners resident in Nigeria registered under the e-registration is being complied with.
In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari, while addressing 15 officers and 160 soldiers of the 17th Army Brigade and Nigerian Air Force 213 Operational Base at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport, on Saturday in Katsina, Katsina State, said: “This group was formed by the military to secure the geopolitical zone from the activities of bandits. Fundamentally, it is your responsibility to secure the country.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I believe you are capable of doing it. I don’t think you should spare any bandit. Identify and eliminate them. Pursue them anywhere you can find them and eliminate them.
“Nigeria deserves peace. The rainy season is good and we are already achieving food security, but we need peace. The money saved from food importation will be used to purchase arms for operations,” he said.
A statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), said the President, accompanied by Governor Aminu Bello Masari, assured the troops under the “Operation Hadarin Dajj”, that the Federal Government will provide all the necessary support for restoration of peace in the country.
“We will give you all the right equipment so that you can deal with them with dispatch. I appreciate all your efforts but you can do more. I don’t want any bandit spared,” he added.
President Buhari said the government and all officials were being sustained in office by the ordinary people, and they owe the people a duty to protect their lives and property.
“Please give my regards to your families. The earlier you finish with the bandits, the earlier you will return and stay with your families,” he said.
Source: Nigerian Tribune