Buhari Re­ceives Re­viewed Na­tional Se­cu­rity Strat­egy

FG: Border clo­sure dou­bles Cus­toms daily rev­enue to N8bn

THISDAY - - FRONT PAGE - Kings­ley Nwezeh in Abuja and Olawale Aji­mo­tokan in Magama Jibia

As the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser (NSA), Ma­jor Gen­eral Baba­gana Monguno (rtd), sub­mits the re­viewed new Na­tional Se­cu­rity Strat­egy (NSS) to Pres­i­dent

Muham­madu Buhari, in­di­ca­tions are that the pres­i­dent is in the process of tak­ing far-reach­ing de­ci­sions that would in­ten­sify his ef­forts to end in­se­cu­rity in the coun­try, THISDAY has learnt.

Although the fed­eral govern­ment has not for­mally made the new strat­egy public, it was learnt that the clo­sure of Nige­ria's bor­ders with neigh­bour­ing coun­tries was part of the new strat­egy con­tained in the se­cu­rity doc­u­ment.

This is com­ing as the fed­eral govern­ment has said the Nige­ria Cus­toms Ser­vice (NCS) is now gen­er­at­ing a daily rev­enue of N8 bil­lion since the clo­sure of its land bor­ders three months ago.

The fed­eral govern­ment had in May be­gan the re­view of the strat­egy doc­u­ment in view of the spi­ral­ing crime wave across the coun­try in­clud­ing ter­ror­ism, kid­nap­ping, ban­ditry, transna­tional crimes, crude oil theft, il­le­gal bunker­ing, small arms pro­lif­er­a­tion among oth­ers.

THISDAY learnt that the pres­i­dent is about mak­ing ma­jor de­ci­sions on the fresh strate­gies sug­gested in the re­port sub­mit­ted to him a month ago on the ways to abate ris­ing in­se­cu­rity in the coun­try.

Ac­cord­ing to the govern­ment, the NSS, which was due for re­view af­ter ev­ery five years and primed to be­come a peo­ple-cen­tered strat­egy, would fo­cus on the

in­stru­ments of na­tional power and re­view of re­la­tion­ships with the coun­try’s al­lies.

This is com­ing as the Abuja chap­ter of ASIS In­ter­na­tional, a global or­gan­i­sa­tion for se­cu­rity pro­fes­sional has called on the fed­eral govern­ment to make the re­view of the NSS par­tic­i­pa­tory in or­der to re­flect the in­put of stake­hold­ers.

The new strat­egy will tackle transna­tional or­gan­ised crimes such as ter­ror­ism, il­le­gal oil­bunker­ing, crude oil theft, il­le­gal fish­ing, kid­nap­ping, hostage-tak­ing, armed rob­bery, cy­ber-crime and smug­gling, which have be­come ma­jor threats to na­tional se­cu­rity.

It will also ad­dress the is­sues of money laun­der­ing, fi­nan­cial crimes, drug and hu­man traffickin­g, piracy, environmen­tal pol­lu­tion and pro­lif­er­a­tion of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), which are the other ma­jor se­cu­rity threats con­fronting the coun­try.

The re­viewed se­cu­rity doc­u­ment noted that, "Nige­ria's ex­ten­sive bor­ders, se­verely un­der­manned, are a ma­jor source of se­cu­rity threat. Nige­ria's vast and in­ad­e­quately po­liced land and mar­itime bor­ders have re­sulted in nu­mer­ous il­le­gal border cross­ings and ir­reg­u­lar mi­gra­tions as­so­ci­ated with trans-na­tional crimes. The por­ous bor­ders, among other en­sure all stake­hold­ers in­put are re­flected,” he said.

Border Clo­sure Hikes Cus­toms Rev­enue to N8bn, Says FG

Mean­while, the fed­eral govern­ment has said the Cus­toms are now gen­er­at­ing a daily rev­enue of N8 bil­lion since the clo­sure of land bor­ders three months ago.

Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion and Cul­ture, Al­haji Lai Mo­hammed, gave the fig­ures yes­ter­day dur­ing an as­sess­ment tour of the Nige­rian side of the border with Niger Repub­lic in Magama Jibia, Katsina State.

Mo­hammed said the fig­ures rep­re­sented over 30 per cent in­crease in rev­enue, since the launch of Ex­er­cise Swift Re­sponse on Au­gust 20, 2019 to se­cure Nige­ria’s mar­itime and land bor­ders.

He also noted that be­fore the clo­sure, the bor­ders con­trib­uted noth­ing to the rev­enue as the Cus­toms were record­ing about N4.5 bil­lion daily.

A del­e­ga­tion that also in­cluded the Min­is­ter of State for In­dus­tries, Trade and In­vest­ments, Ha­jia Maryam Katagum, and Min­is­ter of State for Bud­get and Na­tional Plan­ning, Mr. Cle­ment Agba, was on the tour of the North­west Sec­tor 4.

The min­is­ters had a closedthin­gs, aid and abet smug­gling, il­le­gal move­ment of arms, ter­ror­ists and other crim­i­nals."

To tackle the trans-border crimes, the se­cu­rity doc­u­ment was said to have rec­om­mended the tem­po­rary clo­sure of the land bor­ders.

A source at the of­fice of the NSA told THISDAY that the re­view had been com­pleted and sub­mit­ted to Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari for fi­nal ap­proval.

“We are through with the re­view af­ter the val­i­da­tion ses­sion of the draft na­tional se­cu­rity strat­egy. It has been sub­mit­ted to the pres­i­dent. It is be­fore the pres­i­dent await­ing his ap­proval,” the source said.

The fed­eral govern­ment had raised the alarm that an es­ti­mated seven mil­lion il­le­gal weapons were in the hands of non-state ac­tors and crim­i­nal el­e­ments in the coun­try.

It said the num­ber rep­re­sented 70 per cent of the eight to 10 mil­lion il­le­gal arms in the West African sub-re­gion.

Speak­ing at the Na­tional In­sti­tute for Se­cu­rity Stud­ies (NISS), Abuja, the NSA had said the 70 per cent of the il­le­gal weapons were domi­ciled in Nige­ria.

“It is es­ti­mated that over 70 per cent of the eight to 10 mil­lion il­le­gal weapons in West Africa are domi­ciled in Nige­ria and in the hands of non-state ac­tors and crim­i­nal groups.

“These il­le­gal arms stoke up vi­o­lent con­flicts, armed ban­ditry, kid­nap­ping, cat­tle rustling, mil­i­tancy and the in­sur­gency/ter­ror­ism ex­pe­ri­enced in Nige­ria,” he said.

Mean­while, ASIS In­ter­na­tional said the re­view of the NSS should be made par­tic­i­pa­tory in or­der to cap­ture the views and in­put of other stake­hold­ers in the sec­tor.

Speak­ing in Abuja at the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing (AGM), Chair­man of the ASIS In­ter­na­tional Chap­ter 273, Abuja, Mr. Kabiru Adamu, said it was im­per­a­tive to in­ter­ro­gate the nexus be­tween the chal­lenges of in­se­cu­rity and ex­ist­ing na­tional se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture.

“How well is the na­tional se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture in tan­dem with the re­quire­ments of our na­tional demo­cratic dis­po­si­tion? Is it a fact that the lega­cies of our colo­nial and mil­i­tary past are still present in our na­tional se­cu­rity pos­ture and that these are af­fect­ing the ef­fi­cacy of our na­tional se­cu­rity strat­egy?

“The good news is that the Of­fice of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser (ONSA) is cur­rently re­view­ing the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Strat­egy. We hope that the ONSA will make this re­view process more par­tic­i­pa­tory to door ses­sion with the Sec­tor 4 Co­or­di­na­tor, Na­tional Border Drill Oper­a­tion, As­sis­tant Comptrolle­r Gen­eral, Mr. Bashir Abubakar.

While ad­dress­ing the com­mu­nity led by the District Head of Jibia, Mr. Rabe Rabiu, and Chief of Dadara, Mr. Us­man Us­man, the in­for­ma­tion min­is­ter as­sured them that the fed­eral govern­ment would con­tinue to en­gage Niger Repub­lic and other neig­bour­ing coun­tries to en­sure that all con­cerns that war­ranted the border clo­sure were fully ad­dressed.

How­ever, he noted that the clo­sure of the Magama, Jibia border post had also dras­ti­cally re­duced cat­tle rustling, kid­nap­ping and ban­ditry, which were pre­dom­i­nant in the North-west zone as the ban­dits and ter­ror­ists were find­ing it dif­fi­cult to pro­cure arms and smug­gle it through the land border.

Mo­hammed added that of all four sec­tors af­fected by the lock-up, the North-west Sec­tor 4 had recorded the high­est suc­cess in terms of the re­duc­tion of il­le­gal mi­gra­tion.

“Smug­gling of pe­tro­leum prod­ucts out of Nige­ria has been greatly re­duced. The clo­sure of fill­ing sta­tions along the border is a huge suc­cess. There are hundreds of fill­ing sta­tions along the bor­ders. We in counted many as we drove to the border this morn­ing. They were set up pur­posely for smug­gling. They don't sell the fuel con­sign­ment they re­ceive to the public. About 50 per­cent of them are owned by for­eign­ers. Now that they are closed, we have recorded over 30 per cent re­duc­tion in do­mes­tic fuel con­sump­tion,” Mo­hammed said.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the land bor­ders were locked to pro­tect the coun­try against transna­tional se­cu­rity con­cerns while also adding that it was not tar­geted at any coun­try nor de­signed to crip­ple busi­nesses in any part of the coun­try.

“As a matter of fact, since the ex­er­cise com­menced over three months ago, lo­cal busi­nesses across the coun­try have con­tin­ued to thrive, as farm­ers and rice millers in par­tic­u­lar are now hav­ing turnover on in­vest­ments. The border clo­sure, has curbed the smug­gling of for­eign rice into the coun­try, in ad­di­tion to other pro­hib­ited items; in­creased the monthly im­port rev­enue by over 15 per cent; led to sig­nif­i­cant seizures with es­ti­mated mon­e­tary value of over N3,500,000,000; re­duced lo­cal fuel con­sump­tion by 30 per cent as well as re­duced the im­por­ta­tion of arms, am­mu­ni­tion and drugs,” he ex­plained.

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