“Closing the borders becomes indispensable because our neighbouring countries are not helping us to protect our economy…”
He added, “You must also understand that all the illicit drugs get into this country through the land borders.
“So sometimes it is important to take these difficult decisions so that we get the cooperation and collaboration of customs officials across the borders. It is something that I wholeheartedly support. I think it is temporary and I think it will lead to improvement,” Sanusi stated.
This is coming on the heels of the closure of the country’s land borders with her neighbours, which the government said is just a temporary measure. A few dissenting voices have also been loud in condemning the federal government’s decision – citing various reasons such as violation of the ECOWAS free trade treaty which the federal government of Nigeria is signatory to, as well as the rising cost of some food commodities such as rice. But it must be stated that it does not remove the clear evidence of the immense positive outcomes therein.
While alluding to the point raised by the Emir of Kano, which touched on the fact that this temporary closure is bound to address in the interim the importation of fake drugs as well as illicit drugs in to the country, the facts of the matter are already being felt in various quarters within the drug business.
Buttressing the import of the temporary closure of borders brings to focus the huge gains the country stands to achieve in terms of security and economic benefits let alone the general wellbeing of her citizenry.
According to a 2017 article published in the Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs titled, “Illicit Drug Trafficking in Nigeria: Obstacle to National Development and Security”, it was established that, “One of the actual threats to the nation’s development and human security is the alarming rate of illicit drug trafficking (IDT). The menace of illicit drug trafficking poses heinous threats to human lives, national development and security; most of the Nigerian borders are porous, therefore, giving room for easy influx, movement and exit of drugs.”
Several channels have been identified as the main routes through which illicit drug trafficking takes place in Nigeria. Some of these include, smuggling through the various porous borders which are shared with countries such as – Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These countries are known as transit routes for illegal drugs shipment into the country. NAFDAC has endlessly waged war against the recurring menace of illicit drugs being smuggled across the nation’s land, air and sea ports.
It is with this view therefore that the government’s action should be wholly supported so that we can attain some level of sanity, and the attendant economic gains that the exercise is capable of translating into.
While advocating for the further tightening of the borders to curb obvious excesses of smugglers, fakers and economic saboteurs, it should be clearly understood too that the activities of illicit drug traffickers can potentially be a source of funding for non-state armed and terrorist groups. It becomes therefore imperative that every concerted effort be made to ensure adequate intelligence gathering and security while tackling the knotty issues of bribery and corruption, and poverty that would usually constitute a cog in the wheel of progress – so that the menace can be dealt a lasting blow.
It is also instructive to remind government to keep faith with its promise not to prolong this measure so that the goodwill is not abused. While the holdout endures it behoves government to intensify orientation/education, and ensure strong laws and good governance, as well as adequately equip the law enforcement agencies for the attainment of a more virile and healthier Nigerian society.