The Nigerian Government has said that the illegal activities of bandits, terrorists, smugglers and other illegal merchants have been crippled due to the governments border drill exercise.
On Monday, Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammed who led the Federal Government delegation on an on-the-spot assessment of the border drill exercise at the Magama-Jibia border in Katsina state, North West Nigeria further disclosed that the bandits and terrorists’ activities have been choked by the partial border closure.
The Minister said the drill has drastically curtailed the inflow of arms and ammunition. Base on that, Bandits and terrorists are finding it hard to procure arms and ammunition, hence the country has recorded a reduction in cases of cattle rustling, kidnapping, armed banditry which and other criminal activities that were predominant in the North-west region, he affirmed.
“The Arms and ammunition being used by violent extremists and criminal elements no longer make their way into the country through the land borders. Of course these will definitely a negative effect on the insurgency, thereby reducing it drastically.”
Mr. Mohammed confirmed that smuggling of petroleum products out of Nigeria has been greatly reduced as well. According to him, the closure of filling stations along the border was a huge success.
“There are hundreds of filling stations along the border. We counted many as we drove to the border this morning. They were set up purposely for smuggling. They don’t sell the fuel consignment they receive to the public. However, 50% of them are owned by foreigners. Now that they are closed, we have recorded over 30% reduction in domestic fuel consumption.”
On the revenue front, the Minister said the Nigerian government has recorded over 30% increase in revenue since the drill exercise began. He submitted that before the drill, the borders contributed very minimal to the government revenue.
“Customs was recording about N4. 5 billion daily. Since the closure, the figure has now increased to between N5 and N8 billion daily. Also the North West sector, of the four border drill sectors has recorded the highest success in terms of reduction of illegal migration.”
After the assessment the Minister revealed that that the challenges in sector 4 which is the North West sector are different from what is witnessed in sector 2, especially, Seme border.
“Whereas rice smuggling is the main issue in sector 2, (Seme border), the challenges here in Sector 4, (Magama-Jibia) border include fuel smuggling, illegal migration and importation of arms and ammunition. Of course rice from Benin is also smuggled to Nigeria through Niger Republic.”
To clear the air on some unfounded rumours making the rounds, the Minister clearly stated that border drill exercise is not targeted at any region in the country, neither is it designed to cripple businesses in any part of the Country, as some conspiracy theorists have been insinuating.
Nigeria’s position is that the exercise wouldn’t have been contemplated if her neighbours had complied with the various Memoranda of Understanding, as well as the ECOWAS transit protocols, including ECOWAS trade liberalization scheme among others.
The border drill exercise, code-named ‘exercise swift response’, which was launched On 20th of August 2019 as part of measures taken to secure Nigeria’s land and Maritime borders.
The exercise is ongoing in four geo-political zones of the country; South-South, South-West, North-Central and North-West and is being coordinated by the office of the National Security Adviser and comprises the Military, Customs, Immigration, Police and other relevant agencies of government.