The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (Retd), has said that separatist agitations in some parts of the West African region were gaining global attention due to international sympathy.
Monguno stated this in paper he presented at the Nigeria International Partnership Forum in Paris, France, titled: “Combating Persistent and Emerging Threats to Regional Peace and Security in Africa: Pivotal Role of Nigeria”.
He said most of Nigeria’s contemporary security problems are influenced or heightened by external threat factors in the global environment.
Therefore, “We are also exploring the feasibility of setting up a border security force in the foreseeable future to secure Nigeria’s border areas,” he said.
He added: “The activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Nigeria as well as the activities of Ambazonian separatists in Cameroon have attracted international sympathy mainly from sympathisers in the Diaspora.
“It should however be noted that the Nigerian government has never prevented the freedom of expression or agitation; however, the violent confrontation and engagement of security forces by these groups usually translates into fatalities and other grave consequences.
“While we continue to extend dialogue as the main medium for resolving conflicts in the country, the Nigerian government will continue to discharge its responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives and property against any criminal activity by IPOB or any separatist group.”
He expressed concern that rapid population growth which puts tremendous pressure on states to compete for energy, water and food to support life and economic and societal development; a growing cyber awakening in which perceptions of inequality and other grievances are heightened, leading to social tension and conflicts; a continuation of ideological extremism, driven by religious or ethnic differences; and climate change that could prompt shifts in agricultural patterns and food production are likely to trigger humanitarian crises, if not appropriately addressed.
“All these global security challenges have the potential to undermine national security and by implication national development,” he said.
The NSA said Africa’s porous borders remain a major source of concern as this has aided smuggling of prohibited items and irregular migration as well as other transnational organised crimes.
On present efforts, he said the Nigeria Customs Service has developed the E- Customs strategy while the Nigeria Immigrations Service has equally put in place an Integrated Border Management System (IBMS).
He noted that both strategies place premium on employing technology to complement other existing physical border security arrangements.