President Muhammadu Buhari has called for stricter policing of the borders to help check the influx of arms and terrorism.
He noted that the porous nature of borders has encouraged the escalation of terrorism, economic sabotage, and illicit flow of arms.
The President spoke while hosting the Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), Dr Kunio Mikuriya, who is in Nigeria for the Global Conference on Fragile Borders.
The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, also reiterated his commitment to a free and fair general election this month.
“It is our objective to ensure this (election) takes place in a peaceful and conducive atmosphere, despite all the usual excitement and gamesmanship that is known to occur during election campaigning,” he said.
The President believes the theme of the conference, ‘Enabling customs in fragile and conflict-affected situations,’ is of “critical importance for us as a country as we go to the polls, but equally important to most countries on the continent, and dare I say the world”.
He added: “In fact, it is quite frankly the singular most concerning sub-issue in our national security agenda.
“The fragility of our borders has been a major Achilles heel in our fight against terrorism, economic sabotage and illicit flow of small and light weapons.”
President Buhari is happy the WCO is dedicating an entire conference to the subject.
Dr Mikuriya described WCO as a 184-member worldwide organisation, in which Nigeria plays an active role.
He said Customs services must now go beyond mere revenue generation, and delve into security, as “without security at the borders, we cannot effectively collect revenue.”
Mikuriya lamented that Customs officials are often targets of terrorists and armed groups.
“So, we need to collaborate with other security agencies, share intelligence, and deploy technology,” he said.