•FG: Border closure doubles Customs daily revenue to N8bn
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 oil-bunkering, 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 things, 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 ensure all stakeholders input are reflected,” he said.