By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja – Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col Hameed Ali (Rtd), Tuesday, explained that the nation’s borders are porous because of there is lack of interconnecting links with the neighbouring nations.
According to him, there is no line demarcating Nigeria from its neighboring countries to specifically show the end of the country.
Besides, Ali said Nigerians’ kinsmen living across the borders and neighboring countries speak the same language hence it was difficult to distinguish among nations’ nationals.
The Customs CG said this situation makes it difficult to claim that a particular border is well secured in Nigeria.
Ali who spoke with reporters in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the first meeting of the technical committee on the security project, noted that the situation has constituted some security challenges that the project now seeks to address.
His words, “As regards to porous borders like Mark Shaw said, it is across the nation. Everywhere is porous and you can’t say this is a border that is well secured. Ours is porous because we have borders that are virtually interconnected.
” Our brothers and kins are living across the borders. If you take Benin Republic for instance, some of us speak the same language, we live within the same border; there is no line where there is Nigeria.
“These are part of the problems we have and for us this is a security problem. We must address this. We must be able to find a solution to it and that is the idea behind this project.”
Ali recalled that the project was initiated in Abidjan noting that the meeting would develop a framework for the Directors General to consider and improve on.
Ali further said, “We are hosting this meeting. We initiated the project as I mentioned in my opening remarks at our regional meeting in Abidjan. We are happy that the entire members of the CGs of Customs of the region are here.
“The main idea of this meeting today is to get the experts to develop the framework for consideration by the DGs
“What we expect from them is to draw a roadmap and develop a concept of what it should be so that at the end of the day make recommendations on how we can move forward.
“And thereafter the DG’s of the respective countries will now meet to consider those recommendations. And then bring them to fruition. And that will set pace for the progress.”
Speaking at the occasion, a representative of the Global Initiative against Trans National Organized Crime, Mr. Mark Shaw, noted that the meeting was important because of the changes in the global environment.
He said that the meeting was to come to term with the challenges that the globe was facing.
He pointed out the challenge was a historic convergence between the phenomena of organized crime and the phenomenon of majority.
He urged the meeting not to consider the global challenge as that of law enforcement instead it should consider ways of tackling it with a cross boarder solution.