Border closure effective only in South, difficult to enforce in North –Ex-Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Border closure is not something you do casually. You may close it, in case of a war, to prevent an incursion into your territory. But it is not the kind decision you take for the purpose of stopping smuggling.

How many borders are in the world? Maybe there are 5,000 country-to-country borders. So you get institutions that are well equipped to monitor the borders, but you don’t close them. You use surveillance cameras, drones, and other equipment or facilities because nobody can monitor a border 100 per cent, except you build walls.

In parts of Africa, where borders are very porous, like the Nigeria-Benin borders, for example, the Yoruba on the side of Benin Republic are not conscious of the modern border created by the British and the French. They have been trading for decades among themselves and smuggling is part of their business. You cannot stop it, but you can only minimise it by using intelligence to curb arms smuggling and other contrabands.

Are you saying the border closure was not well thought out?

It wasn’t well thought out. It was precipitous and sudden. They just said, “We are closing the borders tomorrow” and then they closed it. It is childish and it was borne out of a military mentality, which is still playing out in governance.

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