As the move to attain maximum security at the border line continues, the Nigeria Customs Service and Benin Republic Customs have states their stance and readiness to work as a team in other to abrupt the illicit activities of the various economic saboteurs operating in and around the region.
In other to curb these nefarious activities, the two neighbouring country, yesterday held a summit at the operational headquarters of the Ogun Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Idiroko, titled “Nigeria-Benin Inter-Border Forum” , with the theme Cross-Border Cooperation: Local And Preventive Diplomacy On Conflicts”.
Delivering a key note address, the Customs Area Controller of Ogun Command, who also doubled as Chairman of the occasion, Comptroller Michael Agbara, stated that one of the cardinal principles of the Controller-General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd), policy thrust was emphasis on maximum collaboration with critical stakeholders.
He also said that Nigeria Customs Service has pledged to continue rendering the needed support in the collaborative efforts by providing the needed information and appropriate services as at when due.
Comptroller Agbara added that the Inter-Border Forum will also promote facilitation of trade and seamless movements among the ‘two artificial divides’.
While appraising the Forum, the Boss said since its conception years ago, It is worthy to note that it has recorded tremendous achievements such as conflict resolutions, stakeholders’ engagement and bridging communication gaps, among others, which is evidently manifesting in the effective border management being witness between Idiroko and Igolo.
He further said that Nigeria could not afford to rest on her oars, particularly at this critical time of her national life due to the myriad of irregular migration and trade, with attendant challenges of trans-border crimes like arms smuggling, human and drug trafficking and terrorism, that need to be tackled headlong.
Agbara added that, it was very important to emphasize on the need to reinvigorate and sustain the forum as a means of guaranteeing more effective management of borders as enshrined in a systematic and strategic concept of Coordinated Board Management (CBM) popularized by the World Customs Organization (WCO) which he said was geared towards a mutual relationship between nations sharing land borders.
In the same development, Chairman of the Planning Committee for the forum, Archie-Abia Ibinabo, a deputy commissioner and Commander of the the NDLEA, Idiroko, in her welcome address, declared that new security challenges that tend to pose a threat to nations within the West African region were evolving, saying they were aimed at destabilizing and fueling regional instability.
Archie-Abia identified the security threats to include smuggling, drug and human trafficking, terrorism, kidnapping, cross-border banditry, multifaceted crimes, among others.
Quoting David Mitray, in his book “A Working Peace System” she said that “Mitray argues that the problem of our generation, put very broadly, is how to wield together the common interests of all without interfering unduly with particular way of each. He emphasized the need to bind together those interests which are common, where they are common and to the extent to which they are common”, adding that, according to the writer, “the greater interdependence in the form of internationalities between countries could lead to peace”
‘In our palance, not only peace but development and security” she maintained.
Similarly, in a paper presented entitled “Cross-Border Cooperation And Liaison: A Tool For Conflict Resolution”, J. M. Gadzama, Officer-In-Charge of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) in Idiroko, enumerated various reasons for cross-border cooperation and liaison which, he said, would help to remove physical and psychological barriers to exchange and communication, and improve economic, social and territorial cohesion in the West African region.
The event which was well attended was graced by security agencies of the two countries comprising Nigerian Army (NA) Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Directorate of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) Port Health, Quarantine Service and So Safe Corps.