The Federal Government has said that the country has no laws prohibiting cross-border movements, even as it clarified that it was taking measures to stop criminal herdsmen from committing atrocities in the country.
The Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, who disclosed this in Abuja, explained that the security agencies were being strengthened to check criminal activities through the borders.
He also disclosed that the Nigeria Immigration Service had begun the implementation of the Border Management Strategy (BMS).
He spoke just a day after the House of Representatives passed a resolution asking the government to halt the movement of foreign herdsmen into Nigeria.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after Wednesday’s virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Aregbesola stated, “We completed the installation of MIDAS at all international airports in Nigeria. The construction of a world class technology building to manage all Nigeria Immigration Service ICT enhanced systems in Nigeria is nearing completion.
“14 well-equipped Forward Operation Bases (FOB) have been deployed at some entry points of the country.
“We have deployed the Visa-On-Arrival with biometric features at all entry points (air borders). Migration Information Data Analysis System (MIDAS) has now been deployed at all entry points (air borders).
“We have deployed Visa-On-Arrival at all air borders to aid easy business and tourist travels. We initiated the online application for Nigerian passports.
“As of today, 145,695 lost and stolen Nigerian passports have been uploaded after successfully connecting the passport database with that of National Central Bureau (NCB) Interpol police database domiciled with the Nigeria Police.
“In the area of public engagement, the Nigeria Immigration Service twitter handle has been recognised as one of the most robust and responsive handles.”
When asked specifically on how to man the porous borders, the minister responded, “Let me be clear and remind us of the fact that our boundaries are artificial.
“And those of us who have traveled or related to communities at the border posts, I know of a particular village in Ogun where the boundary between Nigeria and Benin Republic cuts the palace of the traditional ruler of that town into two.
“When people mention porous border, I ask myself do they really understand what they are talking about? They are talking about boundaries that are very artificial in some cases and therefore very difficult to Police outside police engagement strategy.
“There is nothing known to law that can prevent cross-border movements because the same community is now located in two different countries through the artificiality of the boundary. So we are increasing our engagement with the community.
“We are going to involve a robust engagement strategy involving communities critical stakeholders, leaders in identifying elements that are dangerous to the security of the country on either side of the border.
“As we are increasing our competence and deployment of technology at the air border, we are doing the same at the land border. As I am talking, we have activated 14 forward operation basis at the land border.
“Yes what we need to do is about far more but four forward operation bases with arm patrol are already in operation, I have commissioned some. We are not limiting it to that.
“We are engaged in a contractual deal with Huawei to develop a robust e-land border management system that will deal with close to half of border surveillance which will make possible for us in Abuja to know at the press of button what is happening in Ileila or any of the borders that will be covered by that system.
“The contract has been awarded, what we are working on now is the funding and that is at a very advanced stage.