The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has urged the management of the National Boundary Commission, to re-engineer its operations and address the nation’s peculiar border challenges.
He made the call on Monday, in Abuja, while declaring open a one-day retreat for stakeholders in the management of Nigeria’s boundaries organised by the commission.
Osinbajo highlighted the role of the commission in resolving various boundary concerns in the country, to ensure peaceful coexistence.
He said, “Permit me to mention that the role of the commission given the numerous border challenges has to be more creative and innovative.
“Every nation attends to the peculiarities of its border issues with solutions that are nuanced, smart, affordable and result-oriented.
“We simply cannot afford to do the things that we have been doing for so many years and expect different results.
“It is time to re-engineer all of our border policies.
“And I believe that this is the paramount responsibility of the commission and we trust that you will deliver.’’
He said that in recognising the commission’s duties, President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the appointment of six distinguished Nigerians as its board members.
He said that the appointment was to strengthen and reposition the commission to enable it fulfill its responsibilities.
“It is important that you work harmoniously, not only among yourselves as a Commission, but also with all external stakeholders.
“As a Commission whose mandate includes ensuring harmonious border relations, charity has to begin at home,’’ he advised.
According to him, the Commission’s Establishment Act allows it to define Nigeria’s internal and external boundaries, resolve disputes, and promote trans-boundary cooperation, among others.
“This means that the commission has a very important role to play in mobilising and coordinating various stakeholders.
“These include law enforcement agencies, subnational governments, foreign governments, bilateral and multilateral organisations, and others, to collectively deal with any and all boundary issues.’’
The vice president hailed the commission for organising the retreat, and noted that the caliber and diversity of participants showed its relevance.
He expressed optimism that the outcome would redefine the narrative of border challenges in Nigeria.
“Here in this room are probably most of the best minds on border issues not just in Nigeria but anywhere.
“So we have an opportunity to move the needle on these long running issues of border management in Nigeria,’’ he said.
He called for greater collaboration among stakeholders to fully manage the nation’s over 4,000 kilometres of external borders.
“What happens along these borders greatly affect what happens within them.
“Whether it is the smuggling or illegal oil bunkering, or the impact of undocumented migration on the security situation in the North/Central, or communal clashes’’ he said. (NAN)