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THE BORDERLESS-BORDER AND INTERNAL SECURITY CHALLENGES IN NIGERIA
The international border between Nigeria and her neighboring countries is roughly 4745sq.km. The major border countries with Nigeria are Cameroon (1,690 kilometers) in the east, Niger (1,497 kilometers) in the north, Benin (773 kilometers) in the west, and Chad (87 kilometers) in the north-east. Nigeria also shares maritime boundaries with Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principle. The current border corresponds to the inter-colonial border between British and French territories that was set up in 1889. Due to the fact that between these countries hardly any natural boundaries exist, in some parts its exact demarcation remains unclear. The border region includes a large surface of lagoon- and marshlands in the Ouémé valley, which have traditionally been used as transport and trade routes and which are very difficult to control and monitor by migration and customs authorities. This coupled with the challenges facing African states to manage their borders are compounded by globalization that is tearing down traditional borders through advancement in technology and transformation of international relations. At the moment crimes are committed without crossing borders and huge amounts of goods are sold through cyberspace. The problem of security as a result of these borderless-borders in Nigeria has become one of the most intractable challenges facing the country today. In recent time, the security challenges in Nigeria and its border crime are alarming, especially, the activities of the terrorist group known as ‘’Boko Haram’’ in which lives and property are no longer secure. There are many speculations that the groups may have found their way through our porous borders. Therefore, the study probes into the nature of Nigeria borders using analytical framework of assessment in the emerging trans-border crimes, the causes and sources of insecurity of lives and property in Nigeria. The paper then revealed that the major criminal activities in Nigeria borders are smuggling of contraband goods and illegal immigrants, trafficking in weapons and human parts, drug trafficking, vehicle crime, trafficking of illegally exploited natural resources, including the illicit trade in timber, oil and diamond among others. The paper then suggests that much of the conventional wisdom regarding how best to address Nigeria border crime and security is not only enacting a law but also creating proper national security awareness, involvement of new stakeholders in the security sector and strong institutional framework to checkmate the activities of trans- border crime.
Keywords: Border, Borderless-Border, Internal Security, Challenges, Nigeria