Border communities’ boss speaks on ‘worrisome’ smuggling, insecurity in nation’s borders

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Border communities’ boss speaks on ‘worrisome’ smuggling, insecurity in nation’s borders

Border communities’ boss speaks on ‘worrisome’ smuggling, insecurity in nation’s borders

Executive Secretary of the Border Community Development Agency, (BCDA) Captain Junaid Abdullahi on Friday in Abuja said, smuggling and all forms of cross border crimes would be minimal if government invests in border agency.

Speaking with DAILY POST, he said that the the economy of the border communities strive on smuggling, noting that it is in Nigeria’s interest to boost the economies of the border communities.

He stated that the agency is striving to make border communities to be at par in terms of development with neighbouring communities across the border and discourage smuggling, hence, there was need for improved funding.

It would be recalled that Senator Suleiman Sadiq (kwara North) Senatorial district on Wednesday at the plenary of the Senate sponsored a motion on “the need to pay attention to the plight of border communities in Nigeria.”

The motion was co-sponsored by 21 other senators.

Reacting to the motion, however, Abdullahi hailed the Senate for mandating the 21 border states to dedicate 1.5 percent of consolidated revenue fund and 30 percent of ecological fund to the development of the Border communities.

“We are grateful for the effort of the Senate because we are surprise and pleasured that somebody is realizing the kind of challenges we are facing and is beginning to address them.

“The economy at the border areas strive on smuggling, so what we are trying to do as agency, is to see that these border communities are brought at par in terms of development with the neighbouring communities across the border.

“If you are comfortable in your country, nobody will entice you across the border to engage in smuggling activities, terrorism or proliferation of arms.

“To strengthen the country’s security, you need these people to feel they are Nigerians” he said.

Speaking on the mandate of the BCDA, Abdullahi observed; “the agency is primarily charged with the mandate of providing socio-economic infrastructure with the border communities of Nigeria, saying the population of the border communities is approximately 30 million, spread across 21 states and 105 local government areas.

He maintained that BCDA draws its funding from the annual budgetary allocation of the federal government, but lamented that, “if you look at the vastness of our border lines, and the population there, what the BCDA is doing annually is just a drop in the ocean as far as the needs of these communities are concerned.

“We do what we can with the amount we get annually, but that is far from enough to even start addressing the challenges adequately, previously when the enabling act was promulgated in 2003, there were funding provisions made for the agency, but that act was amended in 2006, and the funding provisions were taken away,

“Currently the agency has a budget ceiling of just about N3 billion per annum, you find that the border areas are the most neglected in terms of infrastructure, you find that development is concentrated within the urban areas, you find that the border areas are inaccessible and there is prevalence of poverty, so these people rely on criminal activities for subsistence,” Abdullahi added.

Border communities’ boss speaks on ‘worrisome’ smuggling, insecurity in nation’s borders

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