The Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Ambassador Emmanuel Kayode Oguntuase has tasked the border agencies to enhance security management at the border stations.
The clarion call was made during a Joint Border Security Forum from both Seme and Ogun Area commands of the Nigeria Customs Service recent working visit to the Ambassador .
The visit which was at the instance of the Nigerian Ambassador in order to afford him the opportunity to meet with the various Federal Government Agencies operating in the South Western part of Nigeria and Benin Republic borders, which comprises of the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Department of State Security, Nigeria Police Border Patrol, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Port Health among others.
Welcoming the Chairmen of the fora and members from Seme and Ogun axis, the Nigerian Ambassador, Mr. Oguntuase disclosed that the meeting was intended to acquaint officers of the Mission of officials of the Border control agencies, create synergy and a harmonious working relationship between the Mission and all the border control agencies, establish regular consultation, cooperation and a common mechanism for sharing information.
Adding that facilitation of the smooth movement of people, goods and services along the Nigeria/Benin Republic borders without compromising Nigeria’s security and national interest would also be enhanced.
The Ambassador went back memory lane to inform all the border security apparatus that converged in his office that the Nigerian Embassy in Cotonou was established in 1974 at ambassadorial level to carry out representative duties, forge strong enduring political, economic historical ties and to perform consular functions in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians in Benin Republic.
He pointed out that because Seme Krake, Idiroko and by extension, Owode border posts remain the Nigeria commercial gateway to ECOWAS countries, particularly the Lagos-Abidjan economic corridor, the need for the meeting cannot be over-emphasized.
Consequent on the aforementioned objectives, the Ambassador led the delegation from the two border commands to an interactive meeting which focused on the topic ‘’Enhancing Effective and Efficient Border Security and Management along the Nigeria/Benin Republic Borders ‘’.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Oguntuase said the theme for the discussion was apt and appropriate in the face of the current economic and security challenges facing Nigeria highlighting some of the economic and security challenges along the Nigeria/Benin borders to include; massive smuggling activities of prohibited and restricted items through the Nigeria land borders, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, Illicit drug trafficking, piracy, illegal bunkering, oil theft and international terrorism.
The Ambassador in the light of the above challenges charge the security agencies to be more vigilant, alert, effective, and proactive to display due diligence, commitment and professionalism in the discharge of their duties along the borders.
He also made some observable lapses to the Nigeria border control agencies and urged them to rise up to the challenges.
For the purpose of security, the Ambassador also observed the need for scanner machines to be installed in all the land borders and the immediate opening of the abandoned Seme/Krake ECOWAS joint border post.
He expressed the Mission’s effort at repositioning the border agencies for improved performance, especially in making frantic efforts with the relevant agencies including the Nigeria government, European Union, Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the Beninese authorities to ensure the joint border post was commissioned without further delay.
The Ambassador assured that the mission was working assiduously to ensure the promotion, facilitation and enforcement of ECOWAS trade liberalization Scheme as this would increase the smooth movement of goods and products produced within the two countries into Nigeria and Benin Republic respectively.
He charged the Nigeria border control agencies to continue to protect the Nigeria territorial integrity and national interest through effective and efficient border control and management.
At the interactive session, all agencies represented took time to enumerate their roles, achievements and challenges to the Ambassador.