REACTIVATION OF MORIBUND BORDER POSTS
The Federal Government's decision to reactivate 22 hitherto closed border security posts is a laudable step in the effort to arrest the growing wave of terrorism in the country. The posts, located along the nation's borders with Chad, Niger, Benin and Cameroon, will now be manned by Nigerian security agents to check the influx of illegal aliens and smuggling of arms into the country.
This is a timely initiative, considering the challenge that terrorism poses to the country. The move, strictly speaking, ought to have come into force before now, as full operation of those posts may probably have prevented the influx of terrorists and their instruments of terror into the country. Now that the borders are to be opened, it is clearly in the national interest and should be supported by all well meaning Nigerians. Anything that can be done by the authorities to protect national security at this time is welcome.
It is not, however, enough just to open the posts. They need to be properly equipped and operated by well-trained immigration and other security personnel to achieve the objective of keeping terrorists and arms smugglers out of the country. The men and women to be deployed to these posts should be properly briefed and motivated to do a good job.
The operation of the posts should not be seen as another opportunity for security agents to line their pockets. They must, instead, be made to understand the importance of their assignment and monitored to ensure that they do exactly what is expected of them. Beyond the reactivation of these posts, the authorities should work hard at designing more strategies to tackle insecurity. It is necessary for Nigeria to deepen diplomatic relations with its neighbours so that their territories will not be used as bases or thoroughfare into the country. Nigeria should cultivate greater understanding and cooperation with these countries.
We should also not rule out the application of sanctions against countries that lend support to perpetrators of violence in Nigeria. This will help to keep the countries in check. Our national interest must be paramount at all times. Nigeria should use the Africa Union (AU) and possibly, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to make our position clear on non-tolerance of those who abet terrorism in Nigeria.
The AU, as a matter of fact, should have a body on terrorism to guard against proliferation of the menace in the continent. It must be careful to ensure that no African country becomes an outpost for the notorious terrorist countries in the world. As the most populous country in Africa with teeming population of about 14.5 million unemployed youths that can easily be lured into terrorism, the authorities have a responsibility to keep terrorist groups out of Nigeria. We also need to get our youths engaged in worthwhile ventures.
It is very important to rev up our intelligence gathering mechanism so that we carry out pre-emptive strikes against terrorists' plans. If Nigeria is serious about attracting investors and remaining a strong, united country, the government must strive to win a decisive victory in the war against terrorism. There is no foreign investor that will commit funds to businesses in a country where the authorities cannot check terrorism. At the same time, the incessant bomb attacks on targets in the country may not always go unretaliated. This could set a stage for widespread crisis that may threaten the stability of the country.
National security is of utmost importance. The 22 new border posts, alongside other existing ones, should be made truly functional to achieve the objective of keeping terrorists and smugglers out of the country.